Emerson College Los Angeles graduate John Bickerstaff ’14 will attend the Academy Nicholl Fellowship Awards Ceremony in November after his screenplay made it to the quarterfinals in competition.
The Academy Nicholl Fellowship is run by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which is the organization behind the Academy Awards (Oscars).
The Nicholl Fellowship is the Academy’s award for unproduced screenplays. As a quarterfinalist, Bickerstaff’s script was one of 375 selected from more than 7,000 submissions.
John Bickerstaff '14 poses for a photo in Harvard Square, Cambridge. (Courtesy Photo)
The screenplay, Dangerous People, is about Laura, a senior journalism major at an elite college who investigates the suicide of a gay student. Her investigation exposes sexual violence and bullying.
Bickerstaff said he is in the process of pre-production of his work with fellow Emerson alumni, including Jordan Michaud-Scorza ’14, Robert McKenzie ’13, and Matthew Tompkins ’15.
“Placing in the Nicholl affirms all of my life choices,” Bickerstaff said by email. “To have my first script acknowledged at this level feels like I’ve graduated from bring ‘someone who writes’ to being ‘a writer.’”
Bickerstaff’s BFA film project, Advent, was nominated for four student EVVY Awards and won for Best Directing. He said it was selected to play at festivals, including Creative Minds in Cannes, the New Hampshire Film Festival, and New Filmmakers Los Angeles.
Since graduating from Emerson, Bickerstaff has held jobs behind the scenes of AMC’s Mad Men, Universal’s film Term Life, the Disney movie McFarland, USA, and is currently working on the upcoming ABC show Wicked City.