Proposals are invited for papers at Unmade, Unfinished, Unseen: Shadow Histories of Cinema and Television,  a two day international conference, 16 – 17 September 2020, at De Montfort University, Leicester.


Keynote speakers: Dr Shelley Cobb (University of Southampton), Professor Andrew Spicer (University of the West of England), and others to follow.

Unmade films and TV programmes have become a subject of both academic and popular interest, driven partly by the opening of archives with significant holdings of unproduced screenplays. As well as books on Kubrick’s Napoleon and The Greatest Movies You’ll Never See, recent years have seen documentary films on ‘lost projects’ such as Lost in La Mancha (2002) and Jodorowsky’s Dune (2013), radio adaptations of Unmade Movies like Welles’s Heart of Darkness, and stage readings of unproduced Hammer scripts such as Vampirella.  Yet, while much of this interest has centred on the unrealised films and TV programmes of significant directors and writers, research is needed into wider issues around ‘unproduction studies’, such as career breaks, cultures of script development, development hell, and the industrial logic of failure.

We invite papers for submission on any aspect of unmade cinema and television. Suggested topics include, but are by no means limited to:

  • Gendered / racial inequalities and unmade projects
  • Case studies of unrealised screenplays, screen treatments, passion projects etc.
  • Gate-keeping in media industries (agents, script readers etc.)
  • Methodologies for using unmade screenplays as a resource for scholarly research
  • Actual or possible realisations of unmade projects
  • Fandom and the resurrection of unmade projects
  • The unmade as alternative or counterfactual media history
  • The literary status of unproduced screenplays
  • Industrial perspectives
  • The ‘Black List’ of most liked unproduced screenplays
  • Archival approaches to the study of the unmade
  • Creative failure

Proposals for twenty-minute presentations to be emailed to Professor Ian Hunter: and Dr James Fenwick: with a submission deadline of 31 January 2020. Abstracts should be no more than 250 words and include a 100-word biography.

The conference is organised jointly by Cinema and Television History Research Institute (CATHI), De Montfort University, and Sheffield Hallam University.