Spotlight Events feature conversations with high-profile film and television industry professionals who share helpful advice and insights on their career experiences and creative process.

Join creators and showrunners Jen Statsky and Lucia Aniello to discuss their Emmy and Golden Globe winning television show, Hacks, and how they approach writing compelling characters who often find themselves in moral gray areas.

Hacks is the story of Deborah Vance (Jean Smart), a legendary grande dame of stand-up comedy whose long-running Las Vegas residency is threatened by a new vanguard of live performers, and Ava (Hannah Einbinder), a twenty-something television writer whose only hope of surviving cancellation is a gig modernizing Deborah’s material. Theirs is a fraught but kinetic partnership masterminded by Jimmy (Paul W. Downs). The highly anticipated third season of the show airs on Max in May 2024.

“What makes Hacks season 3 the biggest yet is how effectively the story raises the stakes from the previous seasons. If audiences think that Deborah has run out of stories, the newest installment will prove them wrong in a heartbeat. These characters feel more real than ever as their stars reach heights they never thought possible.” - Mary Kassel, Screen Rant

Jen and Lucia focus on comedies that bring authentic female experiences to the forefront. Their credits include Broad City, Time Traveling Bong, Nora From Queens, and The Baby-Sitters Club (Aniello) and The Good Place, Parks and Rec and Lady Dynamite (Statsky).

For this Spotlight Event, Lucia and Jen will discuss how they approach character development, making secondary characters shine, depicting the climate crisis through comedy, and portraying generational dynamics.

If you have a disability and require accommodation in order to fully participate in this event, please complete this form, contact us at (435) 776-7790 or email us at to discuss your specific needs. Every effort will be made to accommodate advance requests; requests made within 5 days of the event may not be guaranteed.

Live event registration for Sundance Collab Spotlight Events is free of charge. A recording of this event will be posted to our Video Library the business day after the event and all members who registered can watch the recording for two business days after it is posted. After that, on-demand access to the recording can be purchased for $5.

Photo Credit: Andrew Law -- Jen Statsky is the Emmy award winning co-creator, showrunner, and executive producer of MAX's HACKS. Prior to that, she was most recently a co-executive producer on NBC’s THE GOOD PLACE, working all four seasons on the Emmy nominated show. She also served as a co-executive producer on Comedy Central’s BROAD CITY. Her other writing credits also include NBC’s PARKS AND RECREATION, Netflix’s LADY DYNAMITE, and Amazon’s FOREVER. Jen is currently under an overall deal at Universal Television. more...
Photo Credit: Ryan Pfluger -- Two-time Emmy-winner Lucia Aniello is a writer, director, producer, performer, and one half of the comedy team Paulilu with her partner, Paul W. Downs. Aniello and Downs are trailblazers who have achieved critical acclaim and commercial success over the past nine years, producing, writing, directing, and acting in comedy that brings authentic female experiences to the forefront. With BROAD CITY, TIME TRAVELING BONG, NORA FROM QUEENS, THE BABY-SITTERS CLUB, HACKS, and more, they make it a priority to showcase rarely seen characters. more...

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