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Content LA Speakers 2021

 

SPEAKERS

Moderator Steven Adams
Manager, producer and founding partner, Alta Global Media

Award winning producer, Adams develops new business, produces and consults for international media and finance companies. Producer of the Netflix Original adaptation of Roger Guenveur Smith’s solo performance piece Rodney King, directed by Academy Award nominee Spike Lee. Adams recently collaborated on the marketing of Spike Lee’s hit series She’s Gotta Have It, and the Academy Award winning... read more

Award winning producer, Adams develops new business, produces and consults for international media and finance companies. Producer of the Netflix Original adaptation of Roger Guenveur Smith’s solo performance piece Rodney King, directed by Academy Award nominee Spike Lee. Adams recently collaborated on the marketing of Spike Lee’s hit series She’s Gotta Have It, and the Academy Award winning Blackkklansman, as well as such series as Delhi Crime Story and the Sundance indie pilot It’s Not About Jimmy Keene.

He also served for 4 years as a VFX executive producer representing Paris-
based VFX house BUF to the US Studio system. Adams brought in such Academy Award winners as James Cameron’s Avatar, Ang Lee’s Life Of Pi, Thor for Marvel Studios, as well as Green Lantern, Green Hornet, Stephen Sommers’ Odd Thomas, and Tim
Burton’s Dark Shadows.

Adams is a member of the Producers Guild of America, the Television Academy, Board Ambassador for the Blackhouse Foundation, Advisory board member for Content London and the Los Angeles Art Association.

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Falguni Lakhani Adams
Network executive, VICE TV

Adams is an Emmy Award-winning producer, writer, mother, and creative consultant living in Los Angeles, CA. She is currently a network executive at VICE TV. Adams has a law degree from St. John’s University and more than 17 years experience creating and directing compelling non-fiction storytelling for broadcast network TV along with digital-first content for leading brands, agencies and mul... read more

Adams is an Emmy Award-winning producer, writer, mother, and creative consultant living in Los Angeles, CA. She is currently a network executive at VICE TV. Adams has a law degree from St. John’s University and more than 17 years experience creating and directing compelling non-fiction storytelling for broadcast network TV along with digital-first content for leading brands, agencies and multimedia companies. Some of her recent projects include executive producing Qanon: The Search for Q for VICE TV, producing and directing the award-winning CNN show United Shades of America: SIKHS episode with W. Kamau Bell and the scripted/unscripted NatGeo series Valley of the Boom. She also has a long list of credits for NBC News and Specials, including 9 years at Dateline NBC. Adams is a certified mindfulness instructor and scrabble addict in her (limited) spare time.

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Tony Ayres
Screenwriter, director and producer ,

Ayres is an award-winning Australian showrunner, writer and director, and founding member of Matchbox Pictures, which is part of NBCUniversal International Studios. In 2018, Ayres established Tony Ayres Productions (TAP), backed by International Studios and Matchbox, to develop and produce television and feature films for global audiences and the international marketplace. Ayres was the showrunn... read more

Ayres is an award-winning Australian showrunner, writer and director, and founding member of Matchbox Pictures, which is part of NBCUniversal International Studios. In 2018, Ayres established Tony Ayres Productions (TAP), backed by International Studios and Matchbox, to develop and produce television and feature films for global audiences and the international marketplace.


Ayres was the showrunner on International Emmy and BAFTA nominated series, The Slap and an executive producer on the US remake. He co-created and was executive producer on multi-award winning series Glitch. He was also an executive producer on International Emmy nominated Wanted, and multi-award winning series The Devil’s Playground, Old School, Underground: The Julian Assange Story, and The Straits. He executive produced The Family Law, Bogan Pride and Maximum Choppage. He also produced miniseries Barracuda and the multi-award winning Seven Types of Ambiguity, and directed the multi-award winning TV movie, Saved.

In children’s TV, Ayres created and executive produced the International Emmy and BAFTA award winning Nowhere Boys and the telemovie Nowhere Boys: The Book of Shadows. Across film, Tony directed Cut Snake (2015), The Home Song Stories (2007) and Walking on Water (2002). He also executive produced feature films Ali’s Wedding and Lou.

More recently, Ayres co-created and executive produced the Matchbox television series Stateless for the ABC, which went on to become a global success on Netflix after its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2020. Ayres is also the showrunner for the upcoming, highly anticipated Netflix series Clickbait and is currently in production on TV series Fires, with the ABC attached in Australia. He is also in development on numerous other projects.

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Stuart Baxter
President, international distribution, eOne

Baxter oversees eOne’s global sales team, directing the company’s combined Television and Film international sales efforts across PayTV, FreeTV, SVOD, and AVOD windows. Since joining eOne in 2014, he’s led the expansion of the company’s international sales business around the world. eOne is a leading international entertainment studio that specializes in the acquisition, production and d... read more

Baxter oversees eOne’s global sales team, directing the company’s combined Television and Film international sales efforts across PayTV, FreeTV, SVOD, and AVOD windows. Since joining eOne in 2014, he’s led the expansion of the company’s international sales business around the world.

eOne is a leading international entertainment studio that specializes in the acquisition, production and distribution of film and television content. In addition to handling the international distribution for eOne-produced content, Baxter’s division handles third-party content sales from relationships with first-look production partners, across all genres. Under his leadership, the team has propelled a number of high-profile projects to international success, including: The Rookie (ABC) starring Nathan Fillion; Deputy (FOX) directed by David Ayer and starring Stephen Dorff; Designated Survivor (Netflix), starring Kiefer Sutherland; AMC Networks’ record-breaking The Walking Dead; and Private Eyes (Global/ION), starring Jason Priestley, currently airing in over 150+ territories.

With over 20 years’ experience as an international media and television executive, Baxter’s background spans content sales operations, new and digital media initiatives, broadcast, production, and corporate development and M&A. Prior to joining eOne in 2014, he spent nine years at Sony Pictures and previously headed the business development team at Warner Bros. International TV EMEA.

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Thomas Benski
Founder and CEO, Pulse Films

Benski is the BAFTA and Grammy Award-nominated producer and CEO and founder of Pulse Films. Since launching the company in 2005 with Marisa Clifford, Benski has led the company’s evolution into a multi-disciplinary, award-winning global studio producing feature films, television series, music videos, commercials and branded content. With Pulse Films offices in London, Los Angeles, New York... read more

Benski is the BAFTA and Grammy Award-nominated producer and CEO and founder of Pulse Films. Since launching the company in 2005 with Marisa Clifford, Benski has led the company’s evolution into a multi-disciplinary, award-winning global studio producing feature films, television series, music videos, commercials and branded content. With Pulse Films offices in London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Berlin and Milan, Benski is responsible for the studio’s worldwide creative and strategic development, and oversees output from the company’s scripted motion picture and television divisions. In 2020 Thomas produced the acclaimed feature film Mogul Mowgli starring Riz Ahmed which garnered a BAFTA nomination for Outstanding British Film and is currently producing the second season of the record-breaking Sky Atlantic series Gangs of London as well as the upcoming global TV thriller Atomic Bazaar.

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Moderator Adam Benzine
Director, producer, Jet Black Iris

Benzine is a British-Canadian filmmaker and journalist, based in Toronto. As a filmmaker, he made last year’s groundbreaking COVID-19 documentary The Curve, as well as the Oscar- and CSA-nominated biographical documentary Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah, which recently became the first motion picture to be turned into an NFT. As a journalist, he has served as the Canadian Bureau Chief... read more

Benzine is a British-Canadian filmmaker and journalist, based in Toronto. As a filmmaker, he made last year’s groundbreaking COVID-19 documentary The Curve, as well as the Oscar- and CSA-nominated biographical documentary Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah, which recently became the first motion picture to be turned into an NFT. As a journalist, he has served as the Canadian Bureau Chief for C21Media and the Associate Editor for Realscreen, and written for publications such as the Toronto Star, the National Post, The Globe and Mail, The Walrus, Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.

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Debra Martin Chase
Producer, The Equalizer

Chase is an entertainment industry icon and trailblazer as the first African American female producer to have a deal at any major studio—EVER. She is also the first African American woman to produce a film that grossed over $100 million. Chase’s work has garnered Academy Award, Emmy Award, NAACP Image Award and Peabody Award nominations. Her company, Martin Chase Productions, currently has ... read more

Chase is an entertainment industry icon and trailblazer as the first African American female producer to have a deal at any major studio—EVER. She is also the first African American woman to produce a film that grossed over $100 million. Chase’s work has garnered Academy Award, Emmy Award, NAACP Image Award and Peabody Award nominations.

Her company, Martin Chase Productions, currently has an overall deal with Universal Television and she previously had one with The Walt Disney Company, Whitney Houston’s BrownHouse Productions and Mundy Lane Entertainment, Denzel Washington’s production company.

She has produced numerous films including Harriet, The Princess Diaries, The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants, The Cheetah Girls, Sparkle, Just Wright, Courage Under Fire and The Preacher’s Wife. Her television credits include Rogers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Missing, Lemonade Mouth, Hank Aaron: Chasing The Dream, Lovestruck and Zoe Ever After. Her current TV series is CBS and Universal Television’s The Equalizer starring Queen Latifah.

Chase is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and the Harvard Law School. She is a member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Chase resides in Los Angeles and New York City.

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Tracy Christian
President, TCA Mgmt

Christian is a veteran talent agent with more than twenty years in the industry working in both the literary as well as talent space. She is the president of TCA Mgmt, a boutique talent agency representing actors, producers, and writers. Her current client list includes 3x Emmy and Golden Globe winner Jeremy Piven and industry veteran Tisha Campbell, alongside production companies like Monami Ente... read more

Christian is a veteran talent agent with more than twenty years in the industry working in both the literary as well as talent space. She is the president of TCA Mgmt, a boutique talent agency representing actors, producers, and writers. Her current client list includes 3x Emmy and Golden Globe winner Jeremy Piven and industry veteran Tisha Campbell, alongside production companies like Monami Entertainment (Love and Hip Hop) and NV Studios. The core business of TCA Mgmt is to provide excellent representation and career development for their clients

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Nancy Cotton
EVP, head of scripted programming, EPIX

Cotton is executive vice president, head of scripted programming for EPIX, overseeing development and production of all original scripted series on the network. Since joining EPIX in 2018, Cotton has greenlit and overseen the network’s growing slate of scripted originals. Series launched under her purview include Godfather Of Harlem, starring and produced by Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker, DC orig... read more

Cotton is executive vice president, head of scripted programming for EPIX, overseeing development and production of all original scripted series on the network. Since joining EPIX in 2018, Cotton has greenlit and overseen the network’s growing slate of scripted originals. Series launched under her purview include Godfather Of Harlem, starring and produced by Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker, DC origin story Pennyworth, Julian Fellowes’s limited series Belgravia, Ed Burns’ Bridge And Tunnel and upcoming Chapelwaite, based on the Stephen King short story Jerusalem’s Lot and starring Oscar-winner Adrien Brody.

Prior to EPIX, Cotton was president, Heyday TV USA, where she oversaw series targeted for broadcast, cable, and streaming, including the NBC dramatic series The Inbetween from showrunner Moira Kirland, and projects in development with Emmy and Oscar-winning director Susanne Bier and Oscar-nominated writer Richard Lagravenese. Previously, Cotton was SVP, creative affairs at Fox 21 Television Studios, where she developed and oversaw multi-award-winning drama The Americans (FX), Emmy-nominated series The Killing (AMC, Netflix), and Queen of the South (USA), starring Alice Braga, and also shepherded Emmy award winner Lena Waithe’s The Chi (Showtime) as well as Veena Sud’s Seven Seconds (Netflix), starring Oscar and Emmy winner Regina King.

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Zach Cox
Literary manager, Circle of Confusion

Cox is a Sierra Nevada-loving Chico State graduate and Northern California native who’s been at Circle of Confusion (management and production company) for over 14 years now. He started as an intern in the fall of 2006 and became a manager by the fall of 2010. Cox has an unquenchable thirst for character-driven stories regardless of genre and believes great storytelling is a gift that can be hon... read more

Cox is a Sierra Nevada-loving Chico State graduate and Northern California native who’s been at Circle of Confusion (management and production company) for over 14 years now. He started as an intern in the fall of 2006 and became a manager by the fall of 2010. Cox has an unquenchable thirst for character-driven stories regardless of genre and believes great storytelling is a gift that can be honed but not outright taught. If it were entirely teachable, he would be a writer and not a manager.

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Matt Creasey
EVP, sales, co-productions and acquisitions, rest of the world, Banijay Rights

Creasey was appointed EVP, sales, co-productions and acquisitions, rest of the world at Banijay Rights in August 2020. Based in Los Angeles, he oversees all sales operations and teams for territories outside EMEA. Creasey joined the company following Banijay Rights’ acquisition of Endemol Shine Group, having previously served as EVP, sales and acquisitions for sales arm Endemol Shine Internation... read more

Creasey was appointed EVP, sales, co-productions and acquisitions, rest of the world at Banijay Rights in August 2020. Based in Los Angeles, he oversees all sales operations and teams for territories outside EMEA. Creasey joined the company following Banijay Rights’ acquisition of Endemol Shine Group, having previously served as EVP, sales and acquisitions for sales arm Endemol Shine International.

Reporting to Banijay Rights CEO Cathy Payne, Creasey is across the company’s extensive multi-genre catalogue of over 100,000 hours, comprising of key brands including Survivor, Big Brother, Peaky Blinders, Temptation Island, MasterChef, Wallander, Mr Bean, The Wall, Fort Boyard and Deal or No Deal.

With an invaluable client base, cross-platform sales experience, unrivalled knowledge of the catalogue and extensive commercial wisdom, Creasey works closely with Banijay Rights’ leadership team to set the strategy and grow the business across his assigned territories. Exploring opportunities across linear, SVOD and AVOD, he handles scripted co-productions in the US and rest of the world, alongside sales and acquisitions.

He joined Endemol Shine International in 2006 as director of sales, distribution, and has spent his career to date selling and exploiting some of the world’s largest entertainment brands. Prior to his significant stint at Endemol Shine International, Creasey was head of sales at Celador International.

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Kayla Cromer
Actor,

Neurodiverse actress and activist Cromer stars as Matilda, a high school senior who is driven to succeed and on the autism spectrum, in Freeform’s comedy series Everything’s Gonna Be okay. Before Cromer started to pursue a career in the entertainment industry, her original goal was to attend the FBI Academy and become a criminal profiler. When a San Francisco photoshoot soared across social ... read more

Neurodiverse actress and activist Cromer stars as Matilda, a high school senior who is driven to succeed and on the autism spectrum, in Freeform’s comedy series Everything’s Gonna Be okay.

Before Cromer started to pursue a career in the entertainment industry, her original goal was to attend the FBI Academy and become a criminal profiler. When a San Francisco photoshoot soared across social media, her modeling career took off. Cromer has appeared on magazine covers and editorials nationwide, which lead to getting represented in both San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Currently, Cromer is focusing on her acting career. She has appeared as a guest investigator in TLC’s Ghost Brother and in the feature film Apparition. Cromer’s upcoming projects include the feature Okinawa.

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Moderator Kelly Edwards
Executive producer, Edwardian Pictures and author, The Executive Chair

Veteran producer and creative executive Edwards has worked at every major studio in Hollywood. She calls her new book, The Executive Chair, which will be released this October on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, the cheat codes to breaking in and navigating the entertainment business. Mentored by legendary director Garry Marshall at Disney and famed producer Laura Ziskin at Sony in the feature space,... read more

Veteran producer and creative executive Edwards has worked at every major studio in Hollywood. She calls her new book, The Executive Chair, which will be released this October on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, the cheat codes to breaking in and navigating the entertainment business.

Mentored by legendary director Garry Marshall at Disney and famed producer Laura Ziskin at Sony in the feature space, Edwards eventually shifted her focus to television, where she served as a comedy executive at Fox and headed up UPN’s Comedy division.

After producing a drama series for Paramount, she moved on to NBCUniversal, where she oversaw diversity for their twenty networks. Edwards spent her final stint as an exec creating HBO and Warner Media Entertainment’s emerging artists programs. Along the way, she also produced a Christmas movie for Hallmark.

Edwards holds a B.A. in Theater from Vassar and an MFA in Screenwriting from Emerson College. She runs the non-profit Colour Entertainment, has been a Sundance Episodic Lab fellow, and has raised three amazingly brilliant daughters.

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Sam Esmail
Creator, producer and director,

Esmail is the creator, executive producer, writer and director of Mr. Robot, which has received 13 Emmy nominations and two wins; seven Golden Globe nominations and two wins including best drama; a Peabody Award; and two Screen Actors Guild Award nominations. Prior to the highly-anticipated final season of Mr. Robot, Esmail executive produced and directed Homecoming, starring Julia Roberts. In 20... read more

Esmail is the creator, executive producer, writer and director of Mr. Robot, which has received 13 Emmy nominations and two wins; seven Golden Globe nominations and two wins including best drama; a Peabody Award; and two Screen Actors Guild Award nominations.

Prior to the highly-anticipated final season of Mr. Robot, Esmail executive produced and directed Homecoming, starring Julia Roberts. In 2019, he executive produced Briarpatch, starring Rosario Dawson, for USA Network. Esmail made his feature directorial debut with Comet, which was released through IFC in 2014.

Upcoming projects under his production company, Esmail Corp, and overall deal at Universal Content Productions include Acts of Crime, Angelyne, Battlestar Galactica, Gaslit, Metropolis and The Resort.

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Danny Gabai
Head of VICE Studios U.S,

Gabai is the head of VICE Studios, U.S. which he has helped build from the ground up to encompass all of VICE’s feature film, scripted television, and premium non-scripted and documentary productions. VICE Studios is a division of VICE Media Group, the world’s largest independent youth media company. Gabai has produced multiple feature films, documentaries and TV series for VICE, including Su... read more

Gabai is the head of VICE Studios, U.S. which he has helped build from the ground up to encompass all of VICE’s feature film, scripted television, and premium non-scripted and documentary productions. VICE Studios is a division of VICE Media Group, the world’s largest independent youth media company.

Gabai has produced multiple feature films, documentaries and TV series for VICE, including Sundance 2021 Grand Jury Prize winning animated documentary FLEE; Scott Burns’ 2019 Golden Globe nominated Amazon feature film The Report; Chris Smith’s Emmy-nominated Netflix documentaries Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened and Gaspar Noe’s Climax, winner of the Director’s Fortnight competition at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. Over the past 8 years, Gabai has worked across every aspect of VICE’s creative business including overseeing VICE’s entire original digital content slate from 2012 – 2014, running VICE’s film marketing division and conceiving VICE’s industry defining campaigns for Spring Breakers, The Conjuring and the Cannes Lions winning Dawn of the Planet of the Apes; and working closely with Spike Jonze to help develop the original slate of shows that launched the VICE TV channel.

He began his career as a Motion Picture Agent at WME Entertainment and the William Morris Agency, where he worked with clients including filmmakers Lee Daniels, Chris Milk, Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail as well as JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot and VICE.

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Sally Habbershaw
EVP, Americas, All3Media International

Before being appointed as EVP of sales and co-production for the Americas, Habbershaw was most recently VP of international programming, operations and research at A&E Networks. Here she was responsible in developing strategies for ownership, maximising the exploitation of content across branded and third party platforms, development of original programming and co-productions and driving glob... read more

Before being appointed as EVP of sales and co-production for the Americas, Habbershaw was most recently VP of international programming, operations and research at A&E Networks. Here she was responsible in developing strategies for ownership, maximising the exploitation of content across branded and third party platforms, development of original programming and co-productions and driving global channel and SVOD performance.

A graduate of the London School of Economics, Habbershaw worked in programming at NBC Europe and Granada Sky, and was head of programming at Comedy Central in London before becoming VP and general manager of VH1 UK in 2002. In 2004 Habbershaw moved to New York to become director of development at VH1, leaving in 2009 to move to Gawker Media and then AMC Networks. At AMC Networks she was VP of acquisitions, scheduling and promotions, Sundance & WE Global where she oversaw the programming strategy and operations across all international channels.

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Rick Haskins
President, streaming and chief branding officer, The CW

Haskins is president, streaming and chief branding officer, The CW. Haskins oversees all of the network’s branding, marketing and promotion efforts as well as the overall strategic vision and distribution of The CW’s streaming platforms. He will also lead development of original programming, production and acquisitions tailored for The CW’s streaming, social and emerging platforms, including... read more

Haskins is president, streaming and chief branding officer, The CW. Haskins oversees all of the network’s branding, marketing and promotion efforts as well as the overall strategic vision and distribution of The CW’s streaming platforms. He will also lead development of original programming, production and acquisitions tailored for The CW’s streaming, social and emerging platforms, including The CW’s free, ad-supported streaming service, CW Seed.

Haskins is currently overseeing a new strategic initiative for the network’s streaming strategy as The CW has secured full in-season streaming rights to all new scripted series going forward. Viewers will now be able to catch up from the beginning of the season on both CWTV.com and The CW app.

A published author, Haskins co-wrote “Brand Yourself” in 2000. Haskins is also founder and director of Cast A Pebble, a non-profit organization that provides healthcare for underserved communities in West Africa. A graduate of Utah State University, Haskins has a Bachelor of Science in psychology.

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Bea Hegedus
Global head of distribution, VICE Media Group

Hegedus is global head of distribution at VICE Media Group, where she leads the company’s global distribution and licensing strategy with a focus on building new US domestic and international partnerships around the world. Hegedus is responsible for forging global distribution partnerships focusing on linear, OTT, SVOD and AVOD strategies via the distribution of all VICE’s IP including program... read more

Hegedus is global head of distribution at VICE Media Group, where she leads the company’s global distribution and licensing strategy with a focus on building new US domestic and international partnerships around the world. Hegedus is responsible for forging global distribution partnerships focusing on linear, OTT, SVOD and AVOD strategies via the distribution of all VICE’s IP including programming from VICE TV and VICE World News.

Hegedus was previously at ITV Studios where she was vice president of global scripted content charged with leading the company’s scripted strategy, financing premium high-end drama content and managing international co-productions. During her career, she has worked on both sides of the creative and commercial divide starting out in production and going on to hold a variety of senior executive and advisory roles at companies including Pinewood Pictures, Lionsgate, MTG (NENT) and Fox TV Studios. Hegedus is an active member of BAFTA, a judge at the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and received the International Emmy’s Joan Wilson Drama award during her initial career as a producer.

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Morgan Hertzan
EVP and general manager, VICE TV

Hertzan is a multiple Emmy and DuPont Award-winning producer, entrepreneur and media executive. He is currently executive vice president and general manager of VICE TV, a joint venture with A+E Networks. Under Hertzan’s leadership, VICE TV has become America’s fastest growing entertainment cable network and has proudly paved new ground with the launch of Cari & Jemele Won’t Stick To Spo... read more

Hertzan is a multiple Emmy and DuPont Award-winning producer, entrepreneur and media executive. He is currently executive vice president and general manager of VICE TV, a joint venture with A+E Networks. Under Hertzan’s leadership, VICE TV has become America’s fastest growing entertainment cable network and has proudly paved new ground with the launch of Cari & Jemele Won’t Stick To Sports, the first talk series in primetime television to be hosted by two Black women, Cari Champion and Jemele Hill, as well as the relaunch of VICE News Tonight, the most Emmy-winning nightly newscast of 2020, with fourteen Emmy awards to date.

Hertzan’s stewardship has led the network to experience its largest ratings ever, with critically-acclaimed series such as Dark Side of the Ring, whose success has propelled VICE TV into the top 10 cable networks in its timeslot, all while remaining one of the youngest ad-supported entertainment networks in the entire cable landscape. VICE TV is also one of a select group of networks among all ad-supported cable to see YOY growth. Ushering in a new content strategy for the network, Hertzan has doubled down on Dark Side programming by expanding the hit series into a franchise, and has launched a wide slate of investigative programming, including the landmark docuseries I, Sniper.

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Alison Hoffman
President, domestic networks, Starz

Based in the company’s Santa Monica office, Hoffman is president, domestic networks for Starz. She oversees domestic network operations including all aspects of marketing and promotion, product development, distribution, analytics and program operations. Hoffman previously served as chief marketing officer for Starz. In this role, she was responsible for spearheading brand and content marketing... read more

Based in the company’s Santa Monica office, Hoffman is president, domestic networks for Starz. She oversees domestic network operations including all aspects of marketing and promotion, product development, distribution, analytics and program operations.

Hoffman previously served as chief marketing officer for Starz. In this role, she was responsible for spearheading brand and content marketing for the network, driving acquisition for the STARZ app and delivering data-driven insights that support all facets of the business.

Hoffman was one of the key executives responsible for launching the STARZ app and managing the network’s direct-to-consumer activity, leading efforts to build its streaming business, delivering 70% growth year-over-year domestically and outpacing several key competitors, whilst working closely with partners including Amazon, Hulu and Apple to successfully launch STARZ internationally.

During her tenure, Hoffman launched a master brand strategy for STARZ, repositioning the network as a home for acclaimed and diverse original programming. She’s led campaigns for the entire STARZ Originals slate, including Power, Outlander, Vida and American Gods enabling Starz to compete for and retain subscribers in an increasingly competitive and fragmented television landscape.

She joined Starz in 2012 after serving as vice president of creative and brand strategy at AMC Networks.

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Moderator Pearlena Igbokwe
Chairman, Universal Studio Group

Igbokwe is responsible for the creative affairs and production for NBCUniversal’s four studios: Universal Television, Universal Content Productions, Universal Television Alternative Studios and NBCUniversal International Studios. Additionally, she oversees the company’s International Formats Group. Igbokwe spearheads the production of over 2500 hours of current programming across multiple pla... read more

Igbokwe is responsible for the creative affairs and production for NBCUniversal’s four studios: Universal Television, Universal Content Productions, Universal Television Alternative Studios and NBCUniversal International Studios. Additionally, she oversees the company’s International Formats Group.

Igbokwe spearheads the production of over 2500 hours of current programming across multiple platforms from ambitious storytellers including Tina Fey, Alan Yang, Amy Poehler, Dick Wolf, Lorne Michaels, Michael Schur, Sam Esmail, Debra Martin Chase, Tanya Saracho, Tony Ayres, Seth MacFarlane and Nahnatchka Khan, among others.

Prior to this role, Igbokwe was president, Universal Television where she oversaw creative development, casting and production on series such as Russian Doll, The Good Place and New Amsterdam. Before that, she was executive vice president, Drama Programming, for NBC Entertainment and developed The Blacklist, Blindspot and This Is Us. While at Showtime, Igbokwe helped developed the popular hit series Dexter, the Emmy® award-winning series Nurse Jackie and Soul Food, to name a few. She also garnered success with the Showtime movies Jasper, Texas and Bojangles.


Igbokwe received her undergraduate degree from Yale University and a master’s degree from Columbia Business School. She has been recognized for her leadership in The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Ebony, Essence and more. Currently, Igbokwe serves on the boards of the Hollywood Radio and TV Society, National Association of TV Programming Executives and Television Academy Executive Committee.

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Sam Jay
Host and EP, HBO’s Pause With Sam Jay

Stand-up comic and Emmy-nominated writer (Saturday Night Live) Jay can next be seen on Pause. With Jay, a weekly late-night series, premiering on May 21st on HBO. Last Summer, she debuted her first one-hour stand up special Sam Jay: 3 in the Morning on Netflix. In 2019, Jay made her Netflix debut on The Comedy Lineup and released her album Donna’s Daughter. In 2018, Jay wrote for The 70th Prime... read more

Stand-up comic and Emmy-nominated writer (Saturday Night Live) Jay can next be seen on Pause. With Jay, a weekly late-night series, premiering on May 21st on HBO. Last Summer, she debuted her first one-hour stand up special Sam Jay: 3 in the Morning on Netflix.

In 2019, Jay made her Netflix debut on The Comedy Lineup and released her album Donna’s Daughter. In 2018, Jay wrote for The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards and the MTV Movie & TV Awards and appeared on TV Land’s Nobodies and in Season 5 of Comedy Central’s Broad City. In 2017, Jay was a standout of the Just For Laughs: New Faces, was the host of Ricking Morty, the Rick and Morty post-show on Adult Swim, and was a cast member of MTV’s SafeWord. Jay made her late-night television debut on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! and her half-hour stand-up Comedy Central Presents premiered in 2017 to rave reviews.

Jay was named as one of Variety’s 10 Comics to Watch for 2018 and Comedy Central Comics to Watch in 2015 and has performed internationally at comedy clubs and festivals including the Vodafone Dublin Comedy Festival, Bumbershoot Festival, 208 Comedy Festival, New York Comedy Festival, Portland’s Bridgetown Festival, The Laugh Your Asheville Off Comedy Festival, Boston’s Women In Comedy Festival, among others.

Jay’s television credits also include a part in the award-winning film Pinsky, Starz’s Take My Wife, Comedy Central’s White Flight, Comedy Central’s The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail, as well as Viceland’s Party Legends and Flophouse.

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Laura Kennedy
CEO , Avalon

Kennedy is CEO of Avalon, the talent management and production group based in London, Los Angeles and New York. Avalon represents a prolific roster of artists including comedians, actors, writers and directors and produces numerous television shows including Breeders (FX/Sky), Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO), Spitting Image (BritBox), Starstruck (HBO Max/BBC), Everything’s Gonna Be Oka... read more

Kennedy is CEO of Avalon, the talent management and production group based in London, Los Angeles and New York. Avalon represents a prolific roster of artists including comedians, actors, writers and directors and produces numerous television shows including Breeders (FX/Sky), Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO), Spitting Image (BritBox), Starstruck (HBO Max/BBC), Everything’s Gonna Be Okay (Freeform/Hulu), Taskmaster (Channel 4), Dogs Behaving (Very) Badly (Channel 5), Not Going Out (BBC), and upcoming series Flatbush Misdemeanors (Showtime), How to Save a Grand in 24 Hours (Channel 4), and HBO’s Sam Jay Show. Avalon also distributes its catalogue of programs worldwide.


Prior to joining Avalon in 2019 – the company where she began her career – Kennedy was COO at Lionsgate Television Group heading operations, strategy and M&A. During her 12-year tenure at Lionsgate, she helped scale the TV business to more than $800 million in annual revenue and led many transactions including the acquisitions of Debmar-Mercury, Pilgrim and 3 Arts. Kennedy earned an A.B. from Harvard College in English and American Literature, an MBA from Harvard Business School and serves on the Geffen Playhouse Advisory Board.

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Jennifer Levine
Partner, Untitled Entertainment

Levine, partner at Untitled Entertainment, divides her time between representing a diverse group of writer, director, producer, and actor clients and shepherding a wide range of entertainment projects as a producer. Recent producing credits for Levine include the feature films: Lavender, This Beautiful Fantastic, The Land, Meadowland, G.B.F., and Parts Per Billion. Upcoming projects include Byal... read more

Levine, partner at Untitled Entertainment, divides her time between representing a diverse group of writer, director, producer, and actor clients and shepherding a wide range of entertainment projects as a producer. Recent producing credits for Levine include the feature films: Lavender, This Beautiful Fantastic, The Land, Meadowland, G.B.F., and Parts Per Billion. Upcoming projects include Byall (Legendary), The Great Nothing (Tango Entertainment), and Ozma (Netflix).

Prior to her position at Untitled, a company she helped start over twenty years ago, Levine held positions in both feature film development and production, including stints at 20th Century Fox, Disney, and Kopelson Entertainment. In her various capacities, she has worked on dozens of studio and independent films.

Levine also spent three years based in Milan, Italy acquiring film and television rights and participating in numerous international film markets and festivals. Before moving to Italy, Levine started her career on Wall Street.

Levine is a regular guest speaker, instructor, and mentor with a range of organizations, including the Sundance Film Festival, University of Southern California/Peter Stark Program, Women in Film, Film Independent, and many others.

Levine holds an M.F.A. from USC’s Peter Stark Producing Program and an undergraduate degree in literature from Wesleyan University.

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Moderator Michael Pickard
Editor, Drama Quarterly, C21Media

Pickard is a writer and editor of C21 Media’s Drama Quarterly magazine and website, which focuses on the craft behind international television drama. Formerly a senior news reporter at C21 and deputy editor of a local newspaper group, he has edited Drama Quarterly since July 2015, shining a light on the writers, directors, actors and other creative talents involved in scripted television.

Monica Raymund
Actor and director,

Raymund starred as Gabriela Dawson on the NBC drama Chicago Fire for six seasons, garnering an Imagen Award for Leading Actress in a Drama. On the directing side, Raymund was part of the inaugural class of NBC’s director initiative, Female Forward, which aims to increase female representation in the director’s chair. In addition to starring in STARZ Original series Hightown, she directed an e... read more

Raymund starred as Gabriela Dawson on the NBC drama Chicago Fire for six seasons, garnering an Imagen Award for Leading Actress in a Drama.

On the directing side, Raymund was part of the inaugural class of NBC’s director initiative, Female Forward, which aims to increase female representation in the director’s chair. In addition to starring in STARZ Original series Hightown, she directed an episode in Season 2. Raymund’s directing credits also include an episode of Law & Order: SVU Season 20, two episodes of the CBS hit drama FBI, and short film Tanya for the Hidden Tears Project. At the Midwest Independent Film Festival, Tanya won the Female Filmmaker’s Best Short Award and Best Direction, and won the Audience Award at Flicks for Change Fest.

Raymund studied at The Juilliard School, and went on to star opposite Tim Roth for three seasons in Lie To Me. She later landed a lead role in Stephen Elliott’s Happy Baby, the Sundance Lab’s Like Water For Chocolate, a supporting role in Arbitrage opposite Richard Gere, a recurring role on the critically acclaimed drama The Good Wife, and a guest star role on the 200th episode of Law & Order: SVU.

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Tanya Saracho
Creator, showrunner and director,

Saracho is a playwright and television writer who served as creator, showrunner, and executive producer of Vida on Starz, which earned 100% critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes for all three of its seasons. Saracho recently signed an overall deal with UCP, and is establishing a lab and incubator program aimed to nurture, amplify, guide, and empower intersectional Latinx voices. Her television credi... read more

Saracho is a playwright and television writer who served as creator, showrunner, and executive producer of Vida on Starz, which earned 100% critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes for all three of its seasons.

Saracho recently signed an overall deal with UCP, and is establishing a lab and incubator program aimed to nurture, amplify, guide, and empower intersectional Latinx voices. Her television credits include How to Get Away with Murder, HBO’s Looking, and Devious Maids.

Named one of TV Scribes to Watch by Variety in 2018, Saracho was honored by the LGBTQ California Legislative Caucus as their 2020 Pride Month Honoree. She received the Rising Star Award at the Outfest Legacy Awards, and New Voice Award by Final Draft. Vida won the GLAAD Media Award in 2019; the Audience Award at the 2018 SXSW Film Festival; and made its season two premiere as an Official Selection of the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival.

Saracho co-founded the Untitled Latinix Project, whose mission is to increase Latinx representation in television, broadcast, cable, and streaming platforms through content created by Latinx writers, along with co-founding the Writers Access Support Staff Training Program, to help increase representation and opportunities for underrepresented communities.

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Josh Thomas
Writer, actor and producer,

After winning the hearts of Australia as an award-winning stand-up comedian and television panelist, Thomas turned his hand to writing, acting, and producing and has garnered global recognition for his groundbreaking television comedies Please Like Me and Everything’s Gonna Be Okay. Currently, Thomas can be seen in season 2 of Everything’s Gonna Be Okay, in which he serves as the creator, sho... read more

After winning the hearts of Australia as an award-winning stand-up comedian and television panelist, Thomas turned his hand to writing, acting, and producing and has garnered global recognition for his groundbreaking television comedies Please Like Me and Everything’s Gonna Be Okay.

Currently, Thomas can be seen in season 2 of Everything’s Gonna Be Okay, in which he serves as the creator, showrunner, executive producer and star. The highly anticipated second season premiered on April 9 in the US on Freeform and Hulu, and on Stan, in Australia. Everything’s Gonna Be Okay, which chronicles Thomas as Nicholas – a neurotic twenty-something-year-old raising his teenage half-sisters, one of whom is on the Autism spectrum, after their dad’s untimely death – has received widespread critical applause for its ground breaking portrayal of neurodiverse characters and honest queer storytelling.

Thomas’ first television series, Please Like Me, is a world-renowned queer anthem and was inspired by Thomas’ own life. Thomas, created, starred in and co-executive produced the series with the Australian Broadcasting Company. Over four critically acclaimed seasons, Please Like Me was nominated numerous awards including an International Emmy Award, GLAAD Media Award and GALECA Dorian Award.

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Peter Traugott
President, Keshet Studios

Traugott serves as president of Keshet Studios. With offices in Los Angeles and New York, the studio has rapidly grown to become a major force developing and producing content for the US and international marketplaces. Since joining the Keshet International-owned company in 2015 as president of scripted, prolific producer Traugott has acted as executive producer on numerous series, including La... read more

Traugott serves as president of Keshet Studios. With offices in Los Angeles and New York, the studio has rapidly grown to become a major force developing and producing content for the US and international marketplaces.

Since joining the Keshet International-owned company in 2015 as president of scripted, prolific producer Traugott has acted as executive producer on numerous series, including La Brea (NBC), Our Boys (HBO), The Baker and the Beauty (ABC), Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector (NBC), The Brave (NBC), Wisdom of the Crowd (CBS); as well as the pilots  Black Beauty (ABC), Skinny Dip (CW), Suspicion (NBC), and Salamander (ABC). He is currently working on more than a dozen different projects at various stages of development or production with a variety of major broadcasters, cable platforms and streamers.

Prior to Keshet Studios, Traugott founded TBD Entertainment, a television production company, in 2011; and was promoted to president of television at Brillstein Entertainment Partners, which he joined in 1996 as vice president of development. While at BEP, Traugott developed, produced and/or oversaw more than 25 series, including Samantha Who, Just Shoot Me, and Ringer. Traugott previously served as director of current programming at FOX Broadcasting, overseeing series including Party of Five, The Simpsons, Married with Children, COPS and America’s Most Wanted.

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Yonni Usiskin
Creative director and executive producer, VICE Studios UK

Usiskin is an award-winning exec and producer. As creative director of VICE Studios UK, he is responsible for overseeing the growth of VICE’s new production arm, developing and producing new programming for local and global channels and platforms. Under his tenure, VICE Studios has produced over 40 hours of factual and entertainment break-out hits including The Satanic Verses: 30 Years On a... read more

Usiskin is an award-winning exec and producer. As creative director of VICE Studios UK, he is responsible for overseeing the growth of VICE’s new production arm, developing and producing new programming for local and global channels and platforms. Under his tenure, VICE Studios has produced over 40 hours of factual and entertainment break-out hits including The Satanic Verses: 30 Years On and The Brexit Storm: Laura Kuenssberg’s Inside Story for the BBC; blue chip true crime series, The Murder of Charlene Downes, Britain’s Cocaine Epidemic, Let’s Do Drugs and Dirty Tricks for Channel 5; as well as gameshow format Beat the Internet for UKTV’s Dave.

Prior to this Usiskin was head of programming for VICE TV UK, working with in-house scheduling and marketing teams and overseeing the channel with 38+ hours of original UK content and 200+ hours produced in the US.

He was series producer on the Peabody-award-winning The Islamic State and Emmy-nominated Russian Roulette while overseeing programming for VICE News, which went on to win Grand Prix Media Awards and Best Channel Broadcast Digital Awards.

Usiskin also directed on BAFTA-winning Channel 4 series Educating Essex and created genre-defining singles for Cutting Edge My Tattoo Addiction’and The Fried Chicken Shop, both of which went on to become successful series.

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