The ‘Unlikeable’ Female Protagonist

Speaker: Stacy Rukeyser
Moderator: Alison Brower
Date: Saturday, June 23
Time: 4:15pm – 5:45pm
Venue: TIFF Cinema 1

Stacy Rukeyser, showrunner of Lifetime’s UNREAL, discusses the story mechanics that help sell complicated, allegedly damaged, but always authentic female characters to both the audience and the studio/network. She will give specific examples, including clips from multiple seasons of UNREAL. She will also discuss her experience as a female showrunner, and how we can best move ahead in this Times Up, #MeToo moment. Stacy’s presentation will be followed by a moderated interview and Q&A with the audience.

Stacy Rukeyser

Stacy Rukeyser

Showrunner, UNREAL

Award-winning writer/producer Stacy Rukeyser currently serves as Showrunner and Executive Producer of Lifetime’s critically acclaimed, Emmy Award-nominated and Critics’ Choice Award-winning drama, UNREAL. A senior writer on the series since season one, she has received both a Peabody Award and an AFI Award for her writing on the show.

Rukeyser’s body of work includes Golden Globe Award-winning and Emmy Award-nominated series WITHOUT A TRACE (CBS), ONE TREE HILL (The CW), OCTOBER ROAD (ABC) and STANDOFF (FOX) as well as GREEK, THE LYING GAME and TWISTED for ABC Family. She also worked as Glen Mazzara’s (THE WALKING DEAD, DAMIEN) number two on CRASH, the first scripted drama on STARZ and as UNREAL co-Creator Marti Noxon’s number two on GIGANTIC for Teen Nick.

She is currently developing a pilot for A&E Studios and Lifetime and recently adapted PRIVATE, a feature film for Warner Brothers based on the bestselling young adult novel. She has written pilots for Showtime, Lifetime, MTV and Simon Fuller’s 19 Entertainment. Among her other feature scripts is THE MANXMAN, an adaptation of the epic romance novel by her great-great-grandfather Sir Hall Caine.

Rukeyser began her television-writing career in 2002 when she was one of thirteen writers selected for the Warner Brothers Dramatic Writing Workshop.

A cum laude graduate of Princeton University, she lives in Los Angeles with her two young sons and her husband, Clark Peterson, producer of Academy Award-winning film MONSTER, DEVIL’S KNOT and KAHLIL GIBRAN’S THE PROPHET as well as the upcoming films IDEAL HOME and REPLICAS. Rukeyser’s late father was Louis Rukeyser, best known as host of WALL $TREET WEEK WITH LOUIS RUKEYSER which ran for 32 seasons on PBS.


Alison Brower

Alison Brower

Deputy Editorial Director, The Hollywood Reporter

Alison Brower is the Deputy Editorial Director for The Hollywood Reporter‘s weekly print magazine and THR.com, where she supervises feature film, TV, and awards content, along with culture, art, philanthropy, and more. Before joining THR, Alison launched and served as editor-in-chief at Dr. Oz The Good Life. She previously held positions at Redbook, Glamour, and Cosmopolitan.

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