SXSW has announced keynote speakers and has added another round of impressive names to their already robust roster of featured speakers. The South by Southwest Conference and Festival takes place March 8–17 in Austin.
Political trailblazer Stacey Abrams, multi-hyphenate Hollywood force of nature Elizabeth Banks, Saturday Night Live fave and Shrill star Aidy Bryant, music icon David Byrne, newly-minted Grammy winner Brandi Carlile, SXSW regular Ethan Hawke, Aquaman star Amber Heard, GOOP high priestess Gwyneth Paltrow, Facebook saga players Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (The Winklevi?), and more.
On top of that, keynotes will include former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner with Acreage Holdings Chairman and CEO Kevin Murphy; a Keynote Conversation with Adam Horovitz and Michael Diamond of Beastie Boys with Amazon’s Nathan Brackett; award-winning producer, musician and songwriter T Bone Burnett; investor and author Roger McNamee with WIRED Editor in Chief Nicholas Thompson; and Recode co-founder and editor-at-large Kara Swisher with a special guest.
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Read the complete list of keynotes and featured speakers below.
A Keynote Conversation with Adam Horovitz and Michael Diamond of Beastie Boys with Amazon Music’s Nathan Brackett (Music) — Beastie Boys is a trio consisting of Michael “Mike D” Diamond, Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz, and the late Adam “MCA” Yauch (1964–2012), formed in 1981 as part of New York’s hardcore punk underground. The group’s first full-length album, Licensed to Ill, was the first rap album to reach #1. With seven multi-platinum albums from 1986
to 2011, including Licensed to Ill, Paul’s Boutique, Check Your Head, Ill Communication, Hello Nasty, To the 5 Boroughs and Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, Beastie Boys are one of the longest-lived hip hop acts worldwide. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, received the MTV Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award in 1998, and have won three Grammy Awards. Beastie Boys Book, written by Adam Horovitz and Michael Diamond, was released in October and debuted at #1 The New York Times Bestsellers List. They will be interviewed by Amazon Music head of editorial Nathan Brackett.
John Boehner with Kevin Murphy (Convergence) — John Boehner was elected to the US House of Representatives to represent Ohio’s 8th Congressional District in 1990. Boehner served as House Republican Conference Chairman, 1995-1998; Chairman, House Committee on Education & the Workforce, 2001-2006; House Majority Leader, 2006; House Minority Leader, 2007-2010; Speaker, 2011-2015. He currently sits on the Board of Directors of Acreage Holdings. With headquarters in New York City, Acreage is the United States’ largest vertically integrated, multi-state cannabis operator. Kevin Murphy is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Acreage Holdings.
T Bone Burnett (Music) — Multiple Grammy and Oscar winner Joseph Henry “T Bone” Burnett is a producer, musician and songwriter. Known recently for composing and producing music for the critically acclaimed HBO series True Detective, his film work includes the five-time Grammy winning soundtrack for O Brother, Where Art Thou?, The Big Lebowski, Cold Mountain, The Hunger Games, Crazy Heart and Walk The Line. He has collaborated with numerous artists including Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, Roy Orbison and won “Album of the Year” and “Record of the Year” Grammy Awards for Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’ Raising Sand. His most recent solo album, The Invisible Light, will be released on April 12 on Electro Magnetic/Verve Forecast.
Roger McNamee and Nicholas Thompson (Interactive) — Roger McNamee has been a Silicon Valley investor for 35 years. He co-founded successful funds in venture, crossover and private equity. His most recent fund, Elevation, included U2’s Bono as a co-founder. He holds a B.A. from Yale University and an M.B.A. from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. Roger plays bass and guitar in the bands Moonalice and Doobie Decibel System and is the author of Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe, as well as The New Normal and The Moonalice Legend: Posters and Words, Volumes 1-9. He has served as a technical advisor for seasons two through five of HBO’s Silicon Valley series and was also responsible for raising the money that created the Wikimedia Foundation. Nicholas Thompson is the editor-in-chief of WIRED. Thompson is also a contributor for CBS News and regularly appears on CBS This Morning and CBSN. He is a co-founder of The Atavist and the former editor of the NewYorker.com.
Kara Swisher with Special Guest (Interactive) — Kara Swisher is the co-founder and editor-at-large of Recode, the business and technology brand from Vox Media. She is the producer and host of the Recode Decode and Pivot podcasts, co-executive producer of Recode’s Code Conferences series, New York Times contributing opinion writer, host of the Revolution series on MSNBC, and CNBC contributor. In 2017, Swisher was inducted into the SXSW Interactive Hall of Fame.
Stacey Abrams (Cities, Government & Politics) — National political trailblazer Stacey Abrams served eleven years in the Georgia House of Representatives, seven as Minority Leader, and in 2018, Abrams became the Democratic nominee for Governor of Georgia, when she won more votes than any other Democrat in the state’s history. She was the first black woman to become the gubernatorial nominee for a major party in the United States. At SXSW, she’ll discuss her book Lead from the Outside, an invaluable guide for outsiders, written with an eye toward the challenges that hinder women, people of color, the working class, members of the LGBTQ community, and millennials ready to make change. The book candidly discusses what Stacey has learned over the course of her impressive career in politics, business and the nonprofit world: that differences in race, gender, and class provide vital strength, which we can employ to rise to the top and create real and lasting change.
Elizabeth Banks with Aidy Bryant (Entertainment Influencers) — Elizabeth Banks is a three-time Emmy nominated actress, producer and director. She recently wrapped directing Charlie’s Angels, which she also wrote, produced and will appear in as “Bosley.” Her latest series Shrill will premiere March 15th on Hulu. Aidy Bryant is the star, writer and co-executive producer of the upcoming Hulu series Shrill. Bryant is currently in her seventh season of Saturday Night Live. Bryant has received two Emmy award nominations and voiced the character of D.D. Danger in Amazon’s Emmy award winning animated children’s series Danger & Eggs.
The Big Picture – The Ringer Live Podcast Featured Session (Entertainment Influencers) — Ringer Editor-in-Chief Sean Fennessey sits down with Hollywood’s biggest filmmakers, does weekly Oscar recaps with culture editor Amanda Dobbins, and is joined by a rotating cast of Ringer staffers for top five lists and instant reactions to popular films.
David Byrne (Social & Global Impact) — Known as the force behind Talking Heads and later as creator of the highly-regarded record label Luaka Bop, David Byrne also works as a photographer, film director, author, and solo artist; he has published and exhibited visual art for more than a decade. Recent works include American Utopia, a solo album and world tour and Joan of Arc: Into the Fire, a theatrical exploration of the historical heroine which premiered at The Public Theater in New York.
Creativity in the Age of Innovation Featured Session (Brands & Marketing) — In times of rapid change, creatively led organizations should be shaping the future. It takes imagination and empathy to see the human potential of new technology. It takes curiosity and obsessive craft to develop a grammar for new media formats. Unfortunately, most companies treat creatives like petulant children, and most creatives surrender leadership to “businessmen.” The future is too important to leave to operations and finance. It’s time for creatives to step forward and organizations to prioritize creative vision. This session features Nick Law, Chief Creative Officer of Publicis Groupe and President Publicis Communications.
JC Curleigh (Making & Marketing Music) — James “JC” Curleigh is the president and chief executive officer of Gibson, where he leads a new Gibson senior team of proven executives with broad experience in global brand building, finance and product development. Curleigh is a guitar enthusiast and has been a proud owner of both Gibson and Epiphone guitars over the years, including his latest addition – a Gibson 1960’s J-45 acoustic guitar.
The Weekly: The New York Times Expands to TV Featured Session (Media & Journalism) — The Weekly, coming soon to FX and Hulu, brings the unparalleled journalism and insight of The New York Times to the screen for the first time, allowing viewers to see the world through a sharper lens. 1,550 journalists. 160 countries. 2,500 stories a week. In each episode, we select one of these stories and bring it to life. Learn more about one of television’s most exciting new series from Sam Dolnick, assistant managing editor at The New York Times, Ken Druckerman, executive producer of The Weekly and the co-founder and co-president of LEFT/RIGHT, and others on the team powering the next chapter of New York Times storytelling.
Film Critics’ Preview Featured Session (Film & TV Industry) –– Join Alicia Malone, Amy Nicholson, Jacqueline Coley, and Monica Castillo to discuss insider tips, strategies and advice you can use to maximize your time at the Film Festival, straight from some of today’s most influential film pundits. Offering up a “sneak preview” of SXSW’s most anticipated screenings, conference sessions and movie-related happenings, these critics and insiders will also share cinema-etiquette tips to help fans get the most out of their experience and insider news about surprise screenings that are off the radar of the general public.
Ethan Hawke and Jason Blum (Entertainment Influencers) — Ethan Hawke is a Tony and four-time Academy Award nominated actor and writer whose diverse career as a novelist, actor, director, and screenwriter spans more than three decades. In 2018 he celebrated critical acclaim for his role in Paul Schrader’s First Reformed, as well as the release of the romantic comedy Juliet, Naked. His upcoming acting projects include Adopt a Highway premiering this year at SXSW 2019 and Stockholm. Jason Blum, founder of Blumhouse Productions, is a two-time Academy Award-nominated and two-time Emmy and Peabody Award-winning producer. His multi-media company is known for pioneering a new model of studio filmmaking: producing high-quality micro-budget films. His films include the highly-profitable franchises Insidious, The Purge, Sinister and Paranormal Activity, as well as Best Picture Academy Award nominees Whiplash and Get Out.
Experimenting with Experiential: How Giant Spoon Stays One Step Ahead Featured Session (Brands & Marketing) — Trevor Guthrie and Marc Simons are co-founders of Giant Spoon, a full service advertising agency. Giant Spoon was honored as AdWeek’s “Breakthrough Agency of the Year” in 2018. Guthrie provides the strategic leadership on a number of the agency’s highest profile work, including the creation of HBO’s SXSWestworld experience. Simons co-runs Giant Spoon’s LA office which has been ranked as the “#2 Most Effective Independent Agency in the country by the North American Effie Awards. Guthrie and March Simons will be joined in conversation with Adweek Brands Editor Kristina Monllos.
Rachel Hollis (Social & Global Impact) — Rachel Hollis has been called “Tina Fey meets Tony Robbins.” Two million copies and counting, she’s the author of the #1 New York Times best-seller Girl, Wash Your Face, a mom of four, a highly sought after motivational speaker and Co-founder/CCO of the Hollis Company. Hollis continues to empower women in their journey through her two ranked podcasts, books, RISE personal development conferences and through her upcoming life and business coaching programs.
Elisabeth Moss with Brandi Carlile (Entertainment Influencers) — Grammy winning singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile interviews Emmy Award-winning actress Elisabeth Moss about her intense transformation to play punk rocker Becky Something in the acclaimed upcoming film Her Smell. Hear Brandi and Elisabeth swap stories and trade secrets about the rock and roll lifestyle both real and pretend, as well as their recent collaboration on the music video Party of One.
Hans Ulrich Obrist (Design) — In this lecture, Hans Ulrich Obrist will consider the future of technology, drawing on a wide range of artistic projects to demonstrate the possibilities that artificial intelligence presents for the creation of new art forms. Through seminal projects, such as Billy Klüver’s ‘Experiments for Art and Technology’ (1966) – which brought artists together with engineers – Obrist will highlight the early antecedents of art’s relationship to technology. From the Serpentine Galleries’ digital commission of James Bridle to Sondra Perry’s blue screen technology and 3D avatars to Ian Cheng’s sentient artwork, BOB (Bag of Beliefs), Obrist will propose artists as significant producers of our future realities. The lecture will also address the danger that things may be lost, such as the extinction of cultural phenomena and, with reference to Édouard Glissant, the importance of resisting the homogenizing forces of globalization in our digital age.
Gwyneth Paltrow with Poppy Harlow (Brands & Marketing) —Oscar®-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow is also a best-selling cookbook author, singer and entrepreneur. In 2008, Paltrow founded goop from her kitchen table. goop has grown into a lifestyle brand devoted to helping women make their own choices count in the various facets of their lives—from style, travel, work, food, and beauty to physical, mental, and spiritual wellness. Poppy Harlow anchors the weekday edition of CNN Newsroom alongside Jim Sciutto. She also hosts the CNN podcast BossFiles with Poppy Harlow.
Kevin Reilly with Peter Kafka (Media & Journalism) — Kevin Reilly is the President of TBS & TNT, Chief Creative Officer Turner Entertainment and Warner Media Direct-to-Consumer. In addition to leading the top-rated TNT and TBS networks, Reilly was also recently appointed to oversee content strategy for the new WarnerMedia streaming service. Peter Kafka is the executive editor at Recode, the business and technology network from Vox Media; host of Recode Media, the weekly podcast dedicated to the future of media and technology; and co-executive producer of the Code Conference. He has been covering media and technology since 1997, when he joined the staff of Forbes magazine.
Making Change On and Off the Screen Featured Session (Social & Global Impact) — Pop culture is a powerful mechanism to make social activism cool and accessible. Actors, comedians, musicians, athletes and other entertainers and influencers use their platform and visibility to bring attention to important issues, and fans and consumers increasingly expect their favorite artists to speak out against oppression and injustice. As pop culture’s success in shifting public sentiment rapidly grows and becomes more powerful, how do celebrities craft their strategies and tactics in pushing for social change? This session features Ike Barinholtz, Amber Heard, Padma Lakshmi, and Anthony D. Romero.
Nile Rodgers and Merck Mercuriadis (Music Industry & Culture) — Among music legends, Nile Rodgers is truly exceptional. He amplifies his legacy as a multiple GRAMMY-winning composer, producer, arranger and guitarist by constantly traversing new musical terrain and successfully expanding the boundaries of popular music. Merck Mercuriadis is a Canadian-American music executive and music manager. He is the current CEO, Founder and managing partner of Hipgnosis Songs Ltd, an artist management firm, publisher, and record label based in London and Los Angeles. Rodgers and Mercuriadis will discuss the enduring power of the song and the deep hidden meaning of songwriting.
Shooting Stars: How NASA Works with Film & TV Featured Session (Making Film & Episodics) — What’s your favorite space movie? NASA may have played a role in its production. See the science behind the art in this session, as we show how (and why) America’s space agency works with Hollywood to provide assets, locations, and technical expertise to select entertainment projects, such as The Martian, Hidden Figures and First Man. From treatment review through shooting, the social media campaign to home theatrical release, take a trip with us from the Red Planet to the Red Carpet and back again. Bert Ulrich, Joby Harris, Stephanie Smith, Veronica McGregor.
Brian Solis (Brands & Marketing) — Brian Solis is a leading anthropologist, futurist and best-selling author who studies the impact of disruptive technologies on business, society and culture. In his new book, Lifescale: How to Live a More Creative, Productive and Happy Life, Brian tackles the struggles of living in a world rife with constant digital distractions. His model for the book helps readers overcome the unforeseen consequences of living a digital life to break away from diversions, focus on what’s important, spark newfound creativity and unlock new possibilities. With an online audience of over 700,000 viewers, his work makes him a sought-after thought-leader to leading brands, celebrities such as Oprah, Shaq and Ashton Kutcher and over 1,000 startups globally.
The State of the Story: How Carbon Won “The Big Game” Featured Session (Brands & Marketing) — The fragmentation of traditional media has required brands to invent a new kind of storytelling. Some of these elements we already know: storytelling is now more social, more mobile and more visual. But a new frontier of storytelling is also emerging. Enter “hyper-growth” startup brands that use that special combination –audience data, and unique narratives– to beat out well-established, better-funded competitors. As Megan Cunningham found in her research, “The power of a well-told story distributed in a strategic way can change minds and overturn industries; and the playbook is being written today.” Carbon is disrupting manufacturing in the way that Tesla disrupted the auto industry. Meet Dara Treseder, Carbon’s first CMO. She’s a marketing leader whose time at GE, Apple, and Goldman prepared her for the challenge of a lifetime: putting a B2B tech brand on the map in a mainstream way, virtually overnight. Join Cunningham of Magnet Media (and author of The State of the Story and The Art of the Documentary) for an exploration of how their approach cut through the most cluttered media moment to put Riddell helmet and Adidas sneaker products, powered by Carbon, at the center of the conversation.
Talk the Thrones Live Featured Session (Entertainment Influencers) ––Chris Ryan and Binge Mode’s Mallory Rubin and Jason Concepcion, the co-hosts of The Ringer’s Game Of Thrones after show, Talk the Thrones, prepare you for the final season of HBO’s epic tale of royalty, loyalty, blood, and betrayal. Who will sit on the Iron Throne? How will they get there? And how many bodies will they step over along the way? They’ll attempt to answer those questions, and more, as they get ready for the most what might be the most anticipated season in television history.
Cameron Winklevoss and Tyler Winklevoss (Blockchain & Cryptocurrency) — Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss co-founded Gemini, a cryptocurrency exchange and custodian, to build a bridge to the future of money. Gemini is a New York Trust company that allows customers to buy, sell, and store digital assets such as bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ether, zcash, and litecoin. Both graduated from Harvard University with degrees in Economics in 2004 and earned their MBAs from Oxford University in 2010. Together, they represented the United States at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, placing 6th in the Men’s Pair event. Cameron and Tyler have been angel investors and entrepreneurs in emerging technologies since 2003. They began investing in bitcoin in 2012 and launched Gemini in 2015.
When Life Becomes Art Imitates Life Featured Session (Making Film & Episodics) — Controversial and political content has long been popular across all genres – from dramas to comedies. Content creators have come up with plenty of fictional ideas that have turned into fan favorite, award-winning series. But, now more than ever, these fictional worlds feel closer to reality. In this panel, you’ll hear from top creators about how they are leaning in to current events and political movements to create hits that resonate with viewers, rather than taking advantage of social and political issues for shock value. Join L Word creator IIene Chaiken, Shrill Executive Producer and Showrunner Ali Rushfield, writer and UnREAL co-creator Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, and Hulu Head of Originals Beatrice Springborn.
The Women’s Evolution in WWE and Beyond Featured Session (Entertainment Influencers) –– Brave women and men from all walks of life are stepping into the spotlight to shine a brighter light on gender equality gaps. This industry shift has brought global attention to the need for women to have greater opportunities. In February 2015, WWE fans created the viral hashtag #GiveDivasAChance as a rallying cry for female performers to be featured in more prominent storylines. WWE has since responded with the Women’s Evolution. No longer known as “Divas,” WWE “Superstars” now receive more air time to showcase their athleticism. WWE has not only increased its dynamic female fan base, but is actively empowering women inside and outside the ring. Join Stephanie McMahon, Paul “Triple H” Levesque and Charlotte Flair for a discussion focused on the broader industry relevance of women’s empowerment and the leadership needed to foster change.
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