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Senior Lecturer, Film and Media Studies, University of Pittsburgh

Carl Kurlander is a screenwriter (St. Elmo's Fire), TV writer/producer (Saved By the Bell) and producer of numerous documentaries including "The Shot Felt Round the World" about the development of the Salk polio vaccine which aired on the BBC as "The Polio Story: The Vaccine That Changed The World"; "The Chair", a ten-episode Starz TV series which won the TV Critics' Choice Award for Best Reality Program, and "Burden of Genius", about transplant pioneer Dr. Thomas Starzl which has won several best documentary prizes and screened at medical centers from Mass General to Stanford and conferences from New Delhi to Hiroshima.

Kurlander has taught for over two decades in the English and Film and Media Studies at the University of Pittsburgh including classes on screenwriting, film history, film production, and the business of entertainment. His teaching career began when he accepted a serendipitous offer to teach in his hometown for what he thought would be a one-year Hollywood sabbatical. That led to an appearance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and Carl's first documentary "My Tale of Two Cities" about coming home to the real life "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood." He is the Founding Producer of the Pittsburgh Lens Spoke of the Center for Creativity and also the founding Director of the Pitt in LA Program.

Carl is also the co-author with comedian Louie Anderson of The F Word: How to Survive Your Family, and has written articles which have appeared in The Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,, and multiple pieces for The Conversation which have been reprinted in scores of publications around the world. A piece Carl wrote on "The Deadly Polio Epidemic and Why it Matters for Coronavirus" which led to an appearance on the CBS Morning News and a documentary Chasing Covid which Kurlander produced and directed.

Kurlander is currently working on a documentary on August Wilson, developing a TV series based on his grandfather who was a jukebox pioneer in Cleveland in the early days of Rock and Roll, and has, in collaboration with Thomas Michael Kurlander, spent the past year researching a screenplay about the often overlooked work of physicists Lise Meitner and Leo Szilard and the development of fission and the nuclear chain reaction which led us into the nuclear age. Carl also continues to work in the non-profit sector having co-founded a non-profit which helped develop Western Pennsylvania as a center for film and television production and inclusive youth and media programs to train a diverse pool of young people for careers in the creative industries. For more, go to


  • –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


Duke University/MCA-Universal Studios Scholar Award/CINE Golden Eagle Award, Prism Award, Inspire Award