University of Pittsburgh
November 12, 2006

Pitt MFA Student Wins Prestigious Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowship

Award will be presented at gala dinner in Beverly Hills Nov. 16
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-Stephanie Lord, a Master of Fine Arts student in the University of Pittsburgh English Writing program, is among new screenwriters selected for the 21st Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She will receive the first installment of the $30,000 prize for her script Palau Rain at a gala dinner in Beverly Hills Nov. 16.

The Nicholl Fellowship program is an international competition open to screenwriters who have not earned more than $5,000 while writing for film or television. Scripts must be the original work of a sole author or of a team of two collaborative authors. Up to five $30,000 fellowships are awarded each year.

Lord's work was selected from 4,899 scripts submitted for this year's competition. In addition to Lord, this year's winners are Alfred E. Carpenter and Mark A. Matusof of Alexandria and Woodbridge, Va., respectively, for 38 Mercury; Arthur M. Jolly of Marina del Rey, Calif., for The Free Republic of Bobistan; Josh D. Schorr of South Pasadena, Calif., for 10 Day Contract; and Scott K. Simonsen of Hermosa Beach, Calif., for Tides of Summer.

Lord was born and raised in the Republic of Panama. She attended Panama Canal Community College and continued her studies at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. In 1989, Lord joined the International Department at Special Olympics International and served as program coordinator for Asia-Pacific and Europe. She left Washington in 1998 to complete her undergraduate education at Pitt, graduating in April 2001, magna cum laude, with the Bachelor of Arts degree in creative writing and a certificate in film studies.

Lord's poetry was published in African Voices Magazine in 1997. She won a short story competition in 2003 sponsored by Alfred Knopf's Borzoi Reader. Her winning short story, "Fire in a Can," was performed onstage by Philadelphia's InterAct Theatre as part of their Writing Aloud Series in February 2005. Her teleplay for Arrested Development was a finalist in the Disney ABC Writers Fellowship Program in December 2004. While pursuing her graduate degree, Lord works for the University's HIV/AIDS Program as the assistant to the grant coordinator.

Since the Nicholl fellowship program began in 1985, 98 fellowships have been awarded, with several of the awardees' scripts garnering wider acclaim. Among the recipients were Doug Atchison, 2000 fellowship winner for Akeelah and the Bee, who directed the film, which was released earlier this year, and Robert Edwards, whose Nicholl-winning script Land of the Blind, which he directed, premiered at this year's Rotterdam Film Festival.