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Senior Lecturer, University of Pittsburgh

Carl Kurlander is a screenwriter (St. Elmo’s Fire), and TV writer/producer (NBC’s Saved by the Bell franchise) who accepted an offer to teach at the University of Pittsburgh for what he thought would be a one year Hollywood sabbatical.

Instead, the journey has led to Kurlander working on various award-winning productions including:

-- "The Shot Felt Round The World" is a film about how Jonas Salk and his team at the University of Pittsburgh pulled together with a country to develop the world's first polio vaccine and conquer the most feared disease of the twentieth century. Kurlander produced "Shot" which was broadcast as "A Shot To Save The World" on the Smithsonian Channel and on the BBC and won the CINE Golden Eagle Award for Science Programming.
-- "My Tale of Two Cities" is a comeback story about the city of Pittsburgh which built America with its steel, conquered polio, and invented everything from aluminum to be Big Mac reinventing itself for a new age. The film which Kurlander co-wrote and directed features various Pittsburgh neighbors including Joanne Rogers, Franco Harris, and Teresa Heinz Kerry and played 26 cities around North America including on Capitol Hill.
-- The Starz TV series "The Chair" follows two directors making different movies from the same script. Kurlander co-executive produced this show which won the 2015 TV Critics Award for best reality program.
-- "Burden of Genius" tells the story of transplant pioneer Dr. Thomas Starzl who turned what was science fiction when he was growing up-- organ transplantation-- and turned it into a routine miracle which saves countless of lives and changed modern medicine. Kurlander produced "Burden" which premiered at the 2018 Cinequest Film Festival and has won Best Documentary prizes at the Cleveland and Raw Science Film Festivals.
-- "The Rehabilitation of the Hill" is a feature set in Pittsburgh's historic Hill District about a rich family which returns to their roots to help the neighborhood and struggle with the complexities of gentrification. Kurlander produced this community teaching film which allowed students and those from the Hill District community to work alongside industry professionals in making this film won the 2018 Jacksonville Film Festival.

Kurlander continues to teach at the University of Pittsburgh as a Senior Lecturer and is the Founding Producer of the Pittsburgh Lens for Pitt's Center of Creativity. He is also the director of the Pitt in LA summer program.


  • –present
    Senior Lecturer, University of Pittsburgh
  • –present
    Founding Producer, Center of Creativity, University of Pittsburgh


  • 2015 
    Cine , Golden Eagle Award: Science and Technology

Professional Memberships

  • Writer's Guild of America