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Abortion & Reproductive Rights on TV presented by The Syndication Project & Hollywood, Health & Society

Abortion & Reproductive Rights on TV presented by The Syndication Project & Hollywood, Health & Society

Abortion storylines are becoming more commonplace, but many still aren’t reflective of the real-life circumstances of most abortion patients in the U.S. – from representation of race and class, to access and parental status. This panel will explore how TV can further improve depictions of abortion onscreen, and how by creating awareness and lowering the disparities between fictional representation and real-world statistics, the industry can use its power on and off screen to encourage proactiveness around reproductive health.

HIV/AIDS on TV presented by The Syndication Project & Hollywood, Health & Society

HIV/AIDS on TV presented by The Syndication Project & Hollywood, Health & Society

Just as television creatives in the last year were faced with a choice to engage (or not engage) with the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, the industry faced a similar choice in the 1980s with the arrival of HIV & AIDS. As the virus progressed in real time, so did lack of information, fear, and ignorance — which was often reflected on screen though early portrayals of HIV and AIDS that were problematic to the very communities most devastated by the virus.

The ‘90s brought a rise in more educated and empathetic portrayals with ER and Life Goes On, opening the door to even more nuanced storylines on Brothers & Sisters, How to Get Away with Murder, and Looking. All of these series allowed TV to explore HIV not as a death sentence, but as a medical condition to be managed and treated like any other, without stigmatization.

This conversation will explore TV’s complicated history in regards to HIV & AIDS storylines, and the ways in which it has dismantled stereotypes by showing those living with HIV and AIDS as capable of not just surviving, but thriving.

The Messy Middle presented by The Syndication Project & DREDF’s Disability Media Alliance Project

The Messy Middle presented by The Syndication Project & DREDF’s Disability Media Alliance Project

While overall representation of disabilities on TV is slowly but surely improving, many series still tend to depict characters with visible disabilities as the Tragic Victim or the Heroic Martyr — but rarely are they depicted as people, with all the complexities that entails. We’ll sit down with the writers and actors who are exploring the uncharted territory of the “messy middle,” where characters with disabilities are just as flawed, funny, and despicable as anyone else. They’ll also discuss how creatives can push beyond the fear of getting it “wrong” when it comes to disability representation, and what getting it “right” actually means.

Panelists: Steve Way (actor, Ramy), Sofiya Cheyenne (actor, Loudermilk), Ryan J. Haddad (actor, The Politician), Katherine Beattie (writer/producer, NCIS: New Orleans), Kayla Cromer (actor, Everything’s Gonna Be Okay)

Moderator: Kristen Lopez (IndieWire)

Guess Who’s Laughing Now presented by The Syndication Project & GLAAD

Guess Who’s Laughing Now presented by The Syndication Project & GLAAD

From Ellen to Will & Grace to Modern Family, some of the most culturally significant shows have featured queer characters stealing scenes in sitcoms, and hearts as they do. Trans characters, however, have more often than not been the target of punchlines, or made into the joke altogether. The tide is turning thanks to a new wave of trans creators, writers, and performers who are bringing their comedic voice to the forefront. Join us for a conversation about comedic boundaries (or lack thereof), writing for the 2021 viewer (whoever that is), and being really f*cking funny (why the hell not, we deserve).

Panelists: Jesse Leigh (actor, Rutherford Falls), Nava Mau (actor, Genera+ion), Armand Fields (actor, Work in Progress), Rain Valdez (creator/executive producer/actor, Razor Tongue)

Moderator: Alex Schmider (Associate Director of Transgender Representation, GLAAD)

Indigenize the Narrative presented by The Syndication Project

Indigenize the Narrative presented by The Syndication Project

Native American and Indigenous storytellers long preceded the days of television, but have largely been excluded from the industry, stereotyped by inauthentic storytelling, or erased from the picture altogether. However, these creatives are changing TV for the better, and reclaiming their long-overdue seat at the table. Join us for a conversation with the Native American and Indigenous actors, writers, directors, and producers that are recentering Indigenous storytelling and producing dynamic TV in the process.

Panelists: Sierra Teller Ornelas (showrunner/executive producer/co-creator, Rutherford Falls), Sydney Freeland (director, Rutherford Falls, The Wilds), Michael Greyeyes (actor, Rutherford Falls), Kimberly Guerrero (actor, Rutherford Falls, The Wilds), Migizi Pensoneau (writer, Two Sentence Horror Stories, Reservation Dogs)

Moderator: Vincent Schilling (Indian Country Today)

Horror Anthologies presented by SHUDDER

Horror Anthologies presented by SHUDDER

AMC Networks’ premium streamer SHUDDER will present a “Horror Anthologies” panel, exploring the modern series that have become successors to classics like Creepshow and Tales of the Crypt, and the ways in which the horror genre is so uniquely suited to the “short story” mode of storytelling.

Panelists: Greg Nicotero (showrunner/writer/executive producer/director, Creepshow), Tananarive Due (writer, Untitled Black Horror Anthology), Steven Barnes (writer, Untitled Black Horror Anthology), additional TBA

New Voices: Launching A First Series

New Voices: Launching A First Series

“New Voices: Launching A First Series”: First-time showrunners Konrad Kay and Mickey Down from HBO’s drama Industry, Crystal Moselle from HBO’s comedy Betty, and Christina Lee from HBO Max’s dark comedy Made for Love discuss the origin stories behind their series, the creative and practical lessons they learned at the helm, and the impact they hope to make in the entertainment industry.

Panelists: Konrad Kay (Industry), Mickey Down (Industry), Crystal Moselle (Betty), Christina Lee (Made for Love)

Essential Stories: Medical Series Approach a Real-Life Pandemic presented by Hollywood, Health & Society

Essential Stories: Medical Series Approach a Real-Life Pandemic presented by Hollywood, Health & Society

When Coronavirus struck in 2020, not only was the TV industry faced with halting and reimagining  production, but creatives faced the question of whether or not to address the ongoing crisis within the fictional worlds of their shows. For medical series, the question loomed even larger — on one hand, an immense challenge and opportunity to pay tribute to the healthcare workers who remain essential; on the other, risking burn-out from audiences looking to escape reality. In this conversation, we’ll explore the challenges, logistics, and emotional reality of producing a medical drama throughout a pandemic.

Panelists: Joseph Kay (Showrunner/EP, Transplant), David Schulner (Showrunner/EP, New Amsterdam), Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider (Co-Showrunners/EPs, Chicago Med), Zoanne Clack, M.D. (Writer/EP, Grey’s Anatomy), Amy Holden Jones (Co-Creator/EP, The Resident)

Moderator:
Neal Baer, M.D. (Writer/EP, ER)

ATX Breakthrough Award: Angelica Ross

ATX Breakthrough Award: Angelica Ross

ATX is honored to present its very first Breakthrough Award to actor, writer, producer, and human rights advocate Angelica Ross (Pose). The inaugural award seeks to recognize a creative voice who has made a unique and substantial imprint on TV, and exemplifies not only the current moment in television, but the possibilities of its future. Ross will be joined by a special guest moderator for a one-on-one conversation about her multi-hyphenate career, her advocacy work, and her work in TV, which includes Emmy-nominated web series Her Story, Danger and Eggs, Claws, Transparent, and her breakthrough role on FX’s critically-acclaimed series Pose as Candy Ferocity from the House of Abundance. In 2019, Ross made history by becoming the first trans actress to secure two series regular roles with Pose and American Horror Story: 1984. She can next be seen in American Horror Story: Double Feature, premiering later this year on FX.

Panelist: Angelica Ross

Channel Changers: A Conversation with TV’s Leaders

Channel Changers: A Conversation with TV’s Leaders

An industry-forward conversation with top network, studio, and streamer executives about the state of the industry, the personal and professional philosophies they bring to their individual brands, and why inclusivity at all levels remains imperative to producing bigger and better storytelling.

Panelists: Sarah Aubrey (Head of Original Content, HBO Max), Lisa Katz (President, Entertainment Scripted Content, NBCU Television and Streaming), Tina Perry (President, OWN), Karey Burke (President, 20th Television), Christina Davis (President, Original Programming, Starz), Jana Winograde (President of Entertainment, Showtime Networks Inc)

Moderator: Jessica Radloff, Glamour’s West Coast Editor