IMDb > Conceiving Ada (1997)

Conceiving Ada (1997) More at IMDbPro »

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Conceiving Ada -- Emmy Coer, a computer genius, devises a method of communicating with the past by tapping into undying information waves...


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Release Date:
19 February 1999 (USA) See more »
Emmy Coer, a computer genius, devises a method of communicating with the past by tapping into undying information waves... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
1 nomination See more »
(5 articles)
Ken Loach project wins top PttP prize
 (From ScreenDaily. 10 October 2014, 2:00 AM, PDT)

!War At Sundance
 (From 29 December 2010, 6:00 PM, PST)

Sci-Fi Feminist tale 'Conceiving Ada' finally out on DVD
 (From Planet Fury. 5 August 2010, 4:32 PM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Interesting and novel, yet flawed See more (22 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Tilda Swinton ... Ada Augusta Byron King, Countess of Lovelace

Francesca Faridany ... Emmy Coer
Timothy Leary ... Sims

Karen Black ... Lady Byron / Mother Coer
John O'Keefe ... Charles Babbage
John Perry Barlow ... John Crosse
J.D. Wolfe ... Nicholas Clayton
Owen Murphy ... William Lovelace
David Brooks ... Children's Tutor (David)
Esther Mulligan ... Mary Shelley
Ellen Sebastian ... Dr. Fury
Mark Capri ... Dr. Locock
Joe Wemple ... Priest / Talk Show Host
Chris von Sneidern ... Musician In Elevator
David Eppel ... Simon
R.U. Sirius ... Barlow
Kashka Peck ... Teenage Ada
Rose Lockwood ... Child Ada / Claire
Jesse Talman Boss ... Baby Ada
Lillian L. Malmberg ... Anne Isabelle Byron
Cyrus Mare ... Ralph Byron

Michael Oosterom ... Lord Byron
Pollyanna Jacobs ... Cocktail Server
Roger Shaw ... Voice of Priest
Bruce Sterling ... CD-ROM Voice

Dave Nelson ... CD-ROM Voice (voice)

Henry S. Rosenthal ... CD-ROM Voice
George Leeson ... CD-ROM Voice / Club Patron
Melissa Howden ... CD-ROM Voice
Josh Rosen ... CD-ROM Voice (voice)

Lynn Hershman-Leeson ... CD-ROM Voice (voice) (as Lynn Hershman Leeson)
Lavay Smith ... Club Band: Lead Singer
Bing Nathan ... Club Band: Upright Bass
Chris Siebert ... Club Band: Piano
Bill Stewart ... Club Band: Alto Sax
Rosemary Astromsky ... Club Patron
Brooke Baggett ... Club Patron
Lori Baker ... Club Patron
Stack Buss ... Club Patron
Ellen Sebastian Chang ... Club Patron
Ethan Hay ... Club Patron
Geoffrey Herreman ... Club Patron
Seanne-Marie Jacobsen ... Club Patron
Michelle Kopecky ... Club Patron
Sharon Leong ... Club Patron
Jafer Louahdi ... Club Patron
Kenneth Lorber ... Club Patron
Melissa Margolis ... Club Patron
Phillip Ristaino ... Club Patron
Kit Robberson ... Club Patron
Dawn Robinson ... Club Patron
Jackie D. Stewart ... Club Patron
Lena Strayhorn ... Club Patron
Greg Thomas ... Club Patron
Tabitha Warren ... Club Patron
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Charles Pinion ... (uncredited)

Directed by
Lynn Hershman-Leeson 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Lynn Hershman-Leeson 
Eileen Jones 
Sadie Plant  CD-ROM Women, Weaving and Cybernetics
Betty A. Toole  biography Ada, the Enchantress of Numbers, A Selection Letters of Lord Byron's Daughter and Her Description of the First Computer

Produced by
Lynn Hershman-Leeson .... producer
Henry S. Rosenthal .... producer
Original Music by
The Residents 
Cinematography by
Hiro Narita 
Bill Zarchy (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Robert Dalva 
Production Design by
Lynn Hershman-Leeson 
Art Direction by
Laura F. Haynes 
Makeup Department
Gretchen Davis .... makeup artist
Marine Macerot .... hair stylist
Marine Macerot .... makeup artist
Gretchen West .... makeup assistant
Production Management
Debbie Brubaker .... unit production manager
Kevin O'Lone .... computer graphics production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Sue Marcoux .... second assistant director
Eden Wurmfeld .... first assistant director
Art Department
David Bjorngaard .... art department
Nathalie Diericks .... assistant art director
Andrea Terry .... art department production assistant
Sound Department
Tom Bruchs .... consultant: Dolby surround
Inze Byl .... boom operator
Christopher Forrest .... dialogue editor
Kim Foscato .... dialogue editor
Paul Gainakos .... boom operator
Louis Hohenstein .... sound effects editor
Jennifer Myers .... foley artist
Dave Nelson .... foley recordist (as David Nelson)
Dave Nelson .... sound designer (as David Nelson)
Dave Nelson .... sound re-recording mixer (as David Nelson)
Dave Nelson .... supervising sound editor (as David Nelson)
Josh Rosen .... sound designer
Kerry Rosen .... dialogue editor
Tone Sanchez .... production sound
Andy Smitzer .... dialogue editor
Daniel Sperry .... stereo sound consultant: Dolby
Keith Terry .... foley artist
Visual Effects by
Jamie Clay .... computer graphics artist
Jamie Clay .... digital video effects supervisor
Jamie Clay .... modeler: mechincal bird
Walter Grey .... computer graphics artist
Walter Grey .... modeler: mechincal bird
Lynn Hershman-Leeson .... composite editing supervisor (as Lynn Hershman Leeson)
Scott Johnson .... computer graphics artist
Scott Johnson .... modeler: mechanical bird
Jonah Loop .... computer graphics artist
Jonah Loop .... digital effects artist
Karl Raade .... digital artist
Jim Rolin .... compositor: ultimatte
Laurel Roth .... computer graphics artist
Laurel Roth .... modeler: mechincal bird
Ed Rudolph .... on-line digital effects editor
Jarrod Sartain .... digital photgrapher
Carter Tomassi .... title opticals
Camera and Electrical Department
Kathleen Beeler .... camera operator: second unit
David B. Brubaker .... video playback operator
Isaac Camner .... gaffer
Jesse Drew .... camera operator: second unit
Mark Garrett .... virtual set photographer
Hrafnhildur Gunnarsdóttir .... camera operator: second unit
Mia Lor Houlberg .... camera operator: second unit
Mia Lor Houlberg .... first assistant camera: video
Gregor Keller .... best boy electric
Alan Kelley .... first assistant camera: film
Matthew Kenney .... second electrician
David Shippy .... key grip
Anjali Sundaram .... second assistant camera
Skip Sweeney .... camera operator: second unit
Animation Department
Robin Berman .... animator: main titles
Clarity .... animator: main titles
Hrafnhildur Gunnarsdóttir .... animator: Godsdog animation
Helen Plotkin .... animator: Godsdog animation
Keith Sands .... animator: main titles
David Schwartz .... animator: main titles
Anna Wagner .... animator: Godsdog animation
Mark Wallenberg .... animator: Godsdog animation
Mark White .... animator: Godsdog animation
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Lea Ditson .... costume designer: Ada's cape and velvet dresses
Terrance Graven .... costume consultant
Pollyanna Jacobs .... costume assistant (as Pollyanna M. Jacobs)
Mirka Morales .... costumer
Editorial Department
Joe Bini .... assistant editor: avid
David Cerf .... additional on-line editor
Angela Chou .... negative cutter
Lynn Hershman-Leeson .... off-line editor (as Lynn Hershman Leeson)
Stephen R. Sheridan .... color timer
Chryss Terry .... assistant editor
Music Department
Jake Tornatzky .... music editor
Other crew
Rosemary Astromsky .... production assistant
Robin Berman .... title designer: main titles
David Bjorngaard .... production assistant
Peter Buchanan .... legal consultant
Tom Bullock .... 35 mm post-production wrangler
Clarity .... title designer: main titles
Alfred Equitz .... legal consultant
Mark Garrett .... virtual set realisator
Kim Gonzales .... craft service
Susan A. Grode .... legal consultant (as Susan Grode)
Lynn Hershman-Leeson .... virtual set constructor (as Lynn Hershman Leeson)
Mia Lor Houlberg .... documentation
Jyoti Jalali .... assistant: Mr. Rosenthal
Suki Jones .... production assistant
Ivan Kraljevic .... production assistant
Paul Lederman .... production assistant
Meredith MacArthur .... production assistant
Cat McGrath .... production assistant
William Murray .... production coordinator
Paula Nederman .... assistant: Tilda Swinton
Paula Nederman .... production assistant
Jakob Nielsen .... title typography
Keith Sands .... title designer: main titles
Jarrod Sartain .... virtual set realisator
David Schwartz .... title designer: main titles
Luis Sola .... title treatment
Chryss Terry .... script supervisor
November Wanderin .... theatrical release promotion assistant
B. Ruby Rich .... special thanks

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Clone of Ada" - Japan (English title)
See more »
85 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

A director's statement in the film's production notes says that the film was "structured around the idea of a double helix". "Every scene," the notes say, "was structured and shot using a DNA image as a model for actors' placement and camera movement."See more »
Doctor:The uterus is completely destroyed. All that mathematics was too much for your body.See more »
Movie Connections:
References Demon Seed (1977)See more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
7 out of 8 people found the following review useful.
Interesting and novel, yet flawed, 4 July 2000
Author: Foopy-2 from Ohio USA

The approach this film takes to storytelling is interesting, but somewhat confusing. I've never seen a cross between a science fiction film and a period film set in the Victorian era, so this was a refreshing change of pace; but many aspects of it were not handled well.

The way that a person in the present can communicate with someone in the past isn't outlined very well, although I've only seen this movie once and maybe I need to see it again. Communicating with someone in the past has something to do with something called "DNA memory" which I don't quite understand. I consider myself to be fairly well-informed about the general concepts of computer science but the way that Emmy explained her interfacing with individuals and memories from the past seemed quite cryptic and unintuitive... I don't really mind the fact that this isn't explained well--plenty of unexplained, far-fetched science fiction premises can still yield a viewer's suspension of disbelief--but the contact between present and past seems to be taken in stride rather than as something utterly magnificent. If I suddenly found out how to talk to my favorite historical figure and see his or her memories on a screen, I would be quite a bit more excited than Emmy, her husband, or her strange mentor. This is one of the film's biggest incongruencies, and it destroyed my suspension of disbelief.

Although I do appreciate the fact that the director attempted to integrate the digital technology (the uses of which Ada Byron predicted) into the film, it didn't seem to work that well at all. The backgrounds looked very two-dimensional (partially because no characters ever travelled much within a shot, and very little tracking and panning was done to give the environment a three dimensional feel, though such camera movements must be nearly impossible when the digital environments are two-dimensional to begin with). The fire effect in particular looked incredibly fake as the rest of the digital environment didn't respond properly to the flickering of the flames, so altogether the cinematography in the Victorian era was horrendous and reminded me of something from old CD-ROM adventure games like Phantasmagoria or Gabriel Knight II.

The portrayal of Ada's character was very well-done, however, effectively displaying both Ada's desires and modern ideas as well as her imprisonment by social standards and the people around her. In particular, her final speech near the end of the film is very well done.

One of my complaints about the film, however, is that none of the male characters really seem to be fleshed out at all; they're all very two-dimensional, without too much depth or personality, which really makes the film seem very gender biased.

Although I did enjoy the film overall and I thought the blend of science fiction and period filmmaking was a novel idea, I really think that this could've been a much better experience if the science fiction premise had been dropped entirely and the movie had just been a period film. I actually like science fiction very much and I'm generally not interested in period films dealing with repression and social mores, but Ada's character is particularly interesting because her interests are so modern--they have so much application to today's world and today's ideas.

I think that by adding the sci-fi premise to the film weakened it overall; with the ubiquitousness of the Internet, today's audiences generally know the ways in which computers can be used and this film's hasty, fleeting vision of someone in the present communicating with someone in the past only adds confusion to the film, not a sense of wonder about Ada's conceptions and the potential of virtual reality and artificial intelligence. I rather would've spent more time learning about the different kinds of ideas that Ada had from her point of view. As it is, the film spends so much time divided between the present world and Ada's world that it doesn't really have enough time to fully develop either of them.

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