The Unreal Media

Betsy Marino Leighton

Betsy has worked in the film and television industry for the last twenty-five years. Beginning her career as a Page at NBC, she then went on to work for Scorsese Productions and Clinica Estetica before producing and directing the award-winning documentary, A Six Voice Home. More recently, she has produced long form reality and other series for Starz, Ovation, Animal Planet, and High Noon Entertainment. Betsy has published a YA novel for Dutton and is finishing her first adult novel, My Life on the Stage.

Betsy holds an undergraduate degree from Barnard College, an MSW from Hunter College, and an MFA in Screenwriting & Television from Stephens College.

Stephan Shelanski

Stephan has had a vast and high-level career as a television programming executive. As the EVP and Head of Programming for Starz Entertainment for many years, Shelanski oversaw all the programming, acquisitions, scheduling/planning, on-air branding, in-house production and operations for all of the 17 Starz networks. In addition he created and ran the Original Programming department for several years, and was responsible for such original series as Spartacus, Party Down, Crash, Martin Lawrence 1st Amendment. Prior to working at Starz, Shelanski worked for HBO in the research and programming departments.

Shelanski is now focusing his efforts as an independent producer for film and TV. He holds an undergraduate degree from Harvard and has a Masters degree in Film from NYU.

Richard Turner

Richard is a seasoned entertainment executive. He was senior vice president of business affairs, programming at Starz Entertainment and senior vice president of business affairs at Anchor Bay Entertainment. At Starz, Turner was responsible for legal supervision of all agreements related to Starz Entertainment’s licensing of motion pictures and provided strategic guidance for major corporate transactions. He was instrumental in creating Starz’s industry leading position in new media technology including Subscription Video On Demand and the Internet. At Anchor Bay, Turner provided legal supervision of all aspects of acquiring content for theatrical and home video distribution, for both domestic and international. Before joining Starz Entertainment, he worked at Sony Pictures Entertainment as an attorney in its corporate/international legal department. Most recently, Turner has been a consultant in the entertainment industry, providing services to Liberty Global, as well as producers of independent film and television.

Turner graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications. He continued his graduate studies at the Pepperdine University School of Law where he graduated Magna Cum Laude.

Misty Brawner

Misty is a screenwriter who has armed herself with stories derived from her unconventional, ragtag life. Her wealth of ideas come from her experiences teaching in public schools, her world travels studying the conservation of animals, her need to complete ridiculously long endurance events to stave off old age, and finding herself in ludicrous situations on an almost daily basis from which she attempts to emerge (mostly) unscathed. Misty's half-hour comedy, Two Turds in a Punchbowl, has drawn critical acclaim... albeit mostly from her friends. Her writing repertoire also includes features, short films, and web series. Misty earned her MFA in Screenwriting for Television and Film from Stephens College. In addition, she holds a BS in Microbiology from the University of Arkansas and an MA in Zoology from Miami University, Ohio.

Ross Brewer