This fall, Mercy University played host to HitchCon ’23, an annual conference celebrating the artistry and genius of the legendary film director Alfred Hitchcock.
Titled “Hitchcock Unbound: Reimagining the Art of the Story,” the conference drew more than 150 attendees from across the globe, both live and online. During the two-day gathering, participants enjoyed presentations, panel discussions, film screenings and networking events. Featured presenters included authors, filmmakers, artists and the world’s leading Hitchcock scholars.
The event was brought to Mercy by Media Studies faculty member Steven DeRosa, associate director for writing and English at Mercy’s Center for Academic Excellence and Innovation. He is the author of “Writing with Hitchcock: The Collaboration of Alfred Hitchcock and John Michael Hayes” and he serves on the HitchCon advisory board. “Our goal in bringing this conference to Mercy was to offer students the chance to engage in critical scholarship of the works of this highly innovative cinema movie icon,” DeRosa said. “Conferences like HitchCon benefit students by encouraging them to explore art as a means to expand their worldview. Some of the presenters shared work that may soon appear in a new book or book chapter. HitchCon was a great opportunity to expose students to the scholarly community that has grown up in the wake of Hitchcock’s enormous impact on media and pop culture.”
Melissa Mazarakes ’24, a media studies major who will graduate in December, worked behind the scenes at the conference as assistant stage manager, handling lights and other technical needs. Now a Hitchcock fan after taking classes with DeRosa and interning for HitchCon, she said, “I always knew Hitchcock was ahead of his time, especially in the techniques he used to tell a story. I’m taking a screenwriting class now, and I’m interested in learning more about writing scenes that tell stories in new ways.”
Sophomore Joel Rivera ’26, a media studies major, attended the conference with little prior knowledge of the director or his work. “I’m impressed by how many people are so passionate about him,” he said, adding that “Psycho” has become his favorite Hitchcock film. “That movie has so many things to unpack, like the moment when a character says, ‘We all go a little mad sometimes.’ I recognized that line because it’s quoted in the movie ‘Scream.’”
“We are grateful to Dean Peter West for suggesting we bring HitchCon to Mercy this year, and to the Mercy University Board of Trustees for supporting it,” said DeRosa. “We hope to continue Mercy’s participation with this very esteemed group of Hitchcock scholars.”