University of Pittsburgh
March 14, 2007

Pitt to Host Conference on Literary Film Adaptation March 23

Four of the world's leading film scholars will give presentations
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-Each year more than half of the films produced in Hollywood and in other film-producing areas around the world are based on fictional and nonfictional literary text. While the process of adaptation appears essential to filmmaking, film scholars have given it little attention until recently.

The University of Pittsburgh will address the topic in "The Virtues of Fidelity: Film Adaptation as Literary Truth," a conference that features four of the world's leading film scholars, to be held from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. March 23 in the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium, Room 125, 650 Schenley Dr., Oakland. For a complete schedule, visit

According to Colin MacCabe, Distinguished Professor of English and Film at Pitt and professor of English and Humanities at Birkbeck University of London, this conference is based on a postgraduate seminar at Pitt whose premise is that the question of fidelity to the original is a good starting point for serious examination of the process of adaptation. MacCabe will give opening remarks at the conference.

The conference is being held in conjunction with the Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series reading by Irish novelist and playwright Patrick McCabe the preceding evening at 8:30 p.m., also in Frick Fine Arts Auditorium. McCabe is the author of five novels, including "The Dead School" (Picador, 1995), "Breakfast on Pluto" (Picador, 1998), and "The Butcher Boy" (Picador, 1992), which won the "Irish Times'" Irish Literature Prize for fiction and was adapted into a 1996 film directed by Neil Jordan.

Noted speakers, in order of conference appearance, are Tom Gunning, the Edwin A. and Betty L. Bergman Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Art History at the University of Chicago; Laura Mulvey, professor in the School of History of Art, Film and Visual Media at Birkbeck University of London; James Naremore, Chancellor's Professor Emeritus in Communication and Culture, English, and Comparative Literature in the Department of Communication and Culture at Indiana University; and Dudley Andrew, R. Selden Rose Professor of Film and Comparative Literature and director of graduate studies in the Film Studies Program at Yale University.

Gunning will present "Submerged Continents, Shipwrecks, and Dreams: Adapting Gerhardt Hauptmann in 1913"; Mulvey's topic is "Max Ophüls' Adaptation of "Madame de . . ."by Louise de Vilmorin"; Naremore's is "Hearts of Darkness: Welles and Conrad"; and Andrew's is "The Appearance of Fidelity and the Facts of Adaptation."

Speaker introductions will be made by Pitt faculty members Adam Lowenstein, associate professor of English and film studies; Marcia Landy, Distinguished Service Professor of English and Film Studies; Lucy Fischer, professor of English and director of the Film Studies Program; and Xinmin Liu, assistant professor of Chinese literature in East Asian Languages and Literatures.

The free, public conference is sponsored by the School of Arts and Sciences' Department of English, Film Studies Program, and the Graduate Program for Cultural Studies. For more information, visit