SXSW Film Keynotes

Lena Dunham Keynote speech at SXSW 2014. Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images.

In 2014, SXSW Film introduced Keynote sessions to the SXSW Film Conference so attendees could hit the ground running, inspired by diverse visionaries from the ever-evolving world of film.

Keynote speakers embody the DIY spirit, ingenuity and entrepreneurial drive that SXSW uniquely cultivates. Each Keynote session aims to galvanize and empower our audience to do the same. 2014 Keynote speakers included Jason Blum, Lena Dunham, Casey Neistat and Marc Webb.

Stay tuned this fall for 2016 Keynote announcements.

2015 SXSW Film Keynotes

Photo by Brigitte LaCombeAva DuVernay
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Ava DuVernay is the first African-American woman nominated for Golden Globe and Critics Choice Awards for Best Director for Selma, in addition to Independent Spirit and NAACP Image Award nominations. She won the Best Director Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012 for her acclaimed feature Middle of Nowhere. Her previous narrative and documentary work includes I Will Follow, Venus Vs., My Mic Sounds Nice and This is The Life. Prior to her directorial career, DuVernay worked as a film marketer and publicist for more than 14 years.



Photo by Jeff VespaMark Duplass
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Mark Duplass is an award-winning filmmaker, producer, and actor who burst onto the scene with the Independent Spirit Award-Nominated The Puffy Chair (written and directed with his brother, Jay). He is the co-creator (with Jay) and co-star of the acclaimed 2015 HBO series Togetherness. He has produced a number of films under the Duplass Brothers Productions including Safety Not Guaranteed, The Skeleton Twins, The Overnight, 6 Years and Adult Beginners. Mark has starred in Your Sister's Sister, The One I Love, and the upcoming film, Creep, which premiered at SXSW in 2014. Mark is a recurring actor on FOX's The Mindy Project and a regular on the hit FXX show, The League.

Photo courtesy of the artistRZA
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RZA is a multi-Grammy® award-winning producer, BAFTA nominated film composer, recording artist and actor. He is a prominent figure in hip hop music and the creator/producer of the Wu-Tang Clan. RZA has scored for filmmakers Ridley Scott, Jim Jarmusch, Michael Mann and Quentin Tarantino. He also scored the Emmy-nominated American adaptation of the Japanese anime Afro Samurai, executive produced by and starring Samuel L. Jackson. RZA’s on-screen credits include: Mr. Right, Gang Related, The Man With The Iron Fists, American Gangster, Funny People, Due Date, The Next Three Days and G.I. Joe 2.


Photo courtesy of the filmmakerChristine Vachon
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Christine Vachon is an Independent Spirit Award and Gotham Award winner who founded indie powerhouse Killer Films with partner Pamela Koffler in 1995. Over the past twenty years, the two have produced some of the most celebrated American indie features including Boys Don't Cry (Academy Award Winner), Far From Heaven (nominated for 4 Academy Awards), One Hour Photo, I’m Not There, Hedwig And The Angry Inch, Happiness, Velvet Goldmine and Safe. In television, Vachon executive produced Mildred Pierce for HBO (winner of 5 Emmys and a Golden Globe). Her most recent work includes Nasty Baby (Sundance 2015) and current Oscar-nominee Still Alice.


Photo credits: Top photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images, Mark Duplass photo by Jeff Vespa, Ava DuVernay photo by Brigitte LaCombe, RZA photo courtesy of the artist, Christine Vachon photo courtesy of the filmmaker.