After graduating rom Duke University, Kurlander received a Duke/MCA-Universal Studios Scholarship Award in part based on a short story he had written in college St. Elmo's Fire about his infatuation with a waitress at the St. Elmo Hotel.
That story would inspire his first screenplay which became the 1985 Columbia Picture film which Kurlander co-wrote with director Joel Schumacher.
Kurlander has since written and produced numerous projects in film and TV including for the popular NBC Saved By the Bell Franchise including the TV series Malibu, Ca which he co-created with producer Peter Engel.
Kurlander has also produced several award winning documentaries and docu-series including The Chair, the 10 part Starz TV series in which two directors made different films from the same script which won the 2015 TV Critic's Association for Best Realty Program; The Shot Felt Round The World about the development of the Salk polio vaccine which aired on the Smithsonian Channel as A Shot To Save the World and on the BBC as The Polio Story: The Vaccine That Changed The World"; and Burden of Genius, about transplant pioneer Dr. Thomas Starzl which is currently playing festivals and private screenings around the world.
You can find Kurlander''s full credits at www.imdb.com
In the midst of his multi-decade career in film and TV, Kurlander moved back home to teach at the University of Pittsburgh for what he thought would be a one year Hollywood sabbatical.
Instead, the journey led to an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Just as Kurlander told Oprah how happy his family was living in the real life Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, Fred Rogers passed away and the city of Pittsburgh almost went bankrupt. In response, Kurlander made a film about Pittsburgh's comeback story, My Tale of Two Cities, starring Franco Harris, Teresa Heinz Kerry, and Joanne Rogers along with Pittsburghers from Times Square to Beverly Hills singing "Won't You Be My Neighbor?"
Kurlander continues to teach as a Senior Lecturer in the English Department at the University of Pittsburgh and is the founding director of Pitt In LA, a program he started in 2019 where students have classes at Lionsgate Studios and learn about the film and TV business.
Kurlander is also the co-founder of the Steeltown Entertainment Project a nonprofit which over the past decade has helped Southwestern PA become a serious player in the entertainment industry. He is also an adviser for the George A. Romero Foundation which continues to build on Romero's legacy as one of the great independent filmmakers in America.
Kurlander's latest film, Burden of Genius is about the life and work of transplant pioneer Dr. Tom Starzl, who made what was science fiction when he was born-- the idea of transferring an organ from one body to another-- into a "routine miracle" which has saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and changed modern medicine. The film which Kurlander produced with Laura Davis and which was directed by Tjardus Greidanus has won Best Documentary prizes at the Cleveland Film Festival and at L.A's Raw Science Film Festival and is currently screening around the world. Watch a sneak preview here or learn more about the film at www.burdenofgeniusfilm.com.
Kurlander is also the producer of The Rehabilitation of the Hill director Demetrius Wren's film about the wealthy Livingston family with roots in Pittsburgh's Hill District who discover redeveloping a neighborhood also involves their own rehabilitation. The film was produced as a community teaching film lab involving film professionals working alongside members of the community and Pitt students. "Rehab" won Best Narrative at the Jacksonville Film Festival. See http://www.post-gazette.com/ae/movies/2017/04/16/Pittsburgh-film-Hill-District-The-Rehabilitation-of-the-Hill-trains-new-actors-tradespeople-Demetrius-Wren/stories/201704160032
A new feature documentary on legendary transplant pioneer Dr. Tom Starzl
A film about one of the greatest medical figures of the twentieth century, legendary transplant pioneer Dr. Thomas Starzl who overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles to make what had been considered science fiction a reality, This inspiring film won "Best Doc" at the Cleveland Film Festival. See burdenofgeniusfilm.com for more
Pittsburgh movies Squirrel Hill Fred Rogers St. Elmo's Fire Saved By the Bell polio Starzl writer filmmaker