Conceiving Ada


This time-travel adventure film tells the story of Lady Ada Lovelace (daughter of Lord Byron), a mathematics genius a century ahead of her time.

Written/Directed by Lynn Hershman Leeson
Produced by Lynn Hershman Leeson and Henry Rosenthal
Cinematography by Hiro Narita
Starring Tilda Swinton, Francesca Faridany, Karen Black, Timothy Leary, Thomas Jay Ryan
TRT: 85 mins

In stock



In this award-winning film, which was the first to use “virtual sets”, Academy Award® winner Tilda Swinton embodies Lady Ada Lovelace, daughter of Romantic poet Lord Byron, and the mathematics genius who developed what became the world’s first computer language, 100 years before computers were invented. Ada’s story is channeled through Emmy (Francesca Faridany), a contemporary computer scientist researching artificial life. By using her own DNA genetic code, Emmy collapses time and is able to communicate directly with Ada. Realizing how parallel their lives are, she embarks on the task of “saving” Ada. In the process, the borders between past and present, virtual and real, blur, and Ada and Emmy both recognize the implications of their place in time.

This film also features John Perry Barlow and Bruce Sterling, with music by The Residents. It was an Official Selection of Sundance Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival and Berlin Film Festival.

“A meditation on memory, feminism, immortality and the horizons of virtual reality, it’s got enough ideas and intellectual fodder for a dozen films”  Edward Guthmann, S. F. Chronicle

Extras Include: Discussion with Director Lynn Hershman Leeson and Tilda Swinton at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, filmed November 15, 2009.

Additional information


Lynn Hershman Leeson


Tilda Swinton, Francesca Faridany, Karen Black, Timothy Leary, Thomas Jay Ryan


Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC




Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only.)

Aspect Ratio


Number of Discs



Microcinema International

DVD Release Date

February 1, 2000

Run Time:

85 minutes