2018 Speakers 

This years Festival has two featured panels, our TV Showrunners Brunch on Friday and our Actors Panel on Saturday. Below is an overview of all our speakers but more details are available on the individual pages for each panel.


Showrunners Brunch

Friday, September 7th at 11:00 AM

Theresa Rebeck (SMASH)

This fall, Theresa's fourth Broadway play, BERNHARDT/HAMLET, will premiere as part of the Roundabout Theatre Company’s 2018-19 season, making Rebeck the most Broadway-produced female playwright of our time. In TV, Rebeck created the NBC showbiz drama SMASH and has written for CANTERBURY'S LAW, LA LAW, NYPD BLUE, LAW & ORDER CRIMINAL INTENT, DREAM ON, BROOKLYN BRIDGE and many more. 

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BEN EDLUND (The TICK)

Ben's show THE TICK, is currently on Amazon Prime and has been since 2016. He is also known for ANGEL (1999) and SUPERNATURAL (2005). THE TICK first debuted as an animated series on FOX in 1994 and lasted three season. It remained popular via merchandise and returned to the network in 2001 for a bit. 

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KEITH EISNER (DESIGNATED SURVIVOR)

Keith Eisner is a television veteran who most recently served  as showrunner for Season Two of  DESIGNATED SURVIVOR. He was a long-time Executive Producer on THE GOOD WIFE, as well as a writer-producer on LAW AND ORDER, GILMORE GIRLS and NYPD BLUE among a host of other shows.

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ROCKNE S. O'BANNON (DEFIANCE)

Rockne S. O'Bannon created the hit Syfy TV series DEFIANCE, the fan and critic favorite FARSCAPE, and the seminal film and television series ALIEN NATION. He has served as Executive Producer on the NBC series REVOLUTION, and the NBC/DC COMICS adaptation CONSTANTINE.

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MODERATED BY: 

DEBRA BIRNBAUM (EXECUTIVE EDITOR, TV VARIETY)

Debra Birnbaum is an accomplished editor with over 20 years of experience covering news and entertainment. She's the Executive Editor, TV, at Variety, overseeing all television coverage for the trade magazine’s multiple platforms, including the weekly print edition, Variety.com, and special awards season issues. 

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Actors Panel

Saturday, September 8th at 1:30 PM

ITALIA RICCI (DESIGNATED SURVIVOR, SUPERGIRL)

Italia can most recently be seen in the hit ABC series DESIGNATED SURVIVOR playing ‘Emily Rhodes’. Prior to this, Italia recurred as the ‘Silver Banshee’ in SUPERGIRL for CBS. Italia is best known for starring in the ABC Family series, CHASING LIFE, as ‘April Carver’.

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EKA DARVILLE (JESSICA JONES, THE ORIGINALS)

Eka can currently be seen on the critically acclaimed Marvel/Netflix series JESSICA JONES.  He plays the series regular role of “Malcolm”, a neighbor of the lead character “Jessica Jones”. Previous television credits include recurring roles on the hit FOX series EMPIRE and The CW’s Vampire Diaries spinoff THE ORIGINALS.  

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JANINA GAVANKAR (SLEEPY HOLLOW, TRUE BLOOD)

Most recently, Janina Gavankar starred as Imperial solider Iden Versio in “Star Wars: Battlefront II – Hero,” which was released November 14, 2017. In television, Gavankar most recently starred as Diana Thomas, female lead of FOX’s SLEEPY HOLLOW. Gavankar is known for playing diverse characters, most prominently as Luna on HBO’s TRUE BLOOD; Shiva on FX’s THE LEAGUE, Papi on Lifetime’s THE L WORD and Meredith in NBC’s MYSTERIES OF LAURA. 

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MODERATED BY:

REBECCA DEALY (CASTING DIRECTOR, CHRYSTIE STREET CASTING)

Film Credits:  PATTI CAKE$,  A KID LIKE JAKE, MOTHER!, HEREDITARY, IN LIKE FLYNN, ASSASSINATION NATION, AN ACTOR PREPARES, SLICE, ALL THESE SMALL MOMENTS, AS YOU ARE (Special Jury Prize, Sundance Film Festival) JACKIE (Artios Nomination), JOY, THE BOOK OF HENRY, PIMP, THE WANNABE, DRAFT DAY.

TV: TAKEN (NBC),PERSON OF INTEREST (CBS), MADOFF (ABC Miniseries), WILL (TNT), CIVIL (PILOT), and BELIEVE (NBC).