Keynotes

March 13-21, 2020

Keynotes present diverse, visionary speakers who deliver the most powerful new ideas in the ever-evolving worlds of film, culture, music and technology. These speakers are the center of the SXSW Conference and exemplify the spirit, ingenuity, and entrepreneurial drive that SXSW cultivates.

2020 Keynotes


2019 Keynote, Bozoma Saint John - Photo by Katie Marriner

2019 Keynote, Bozoma Saint John - Photo by Katie Marriner

About Keynotes

 

The fulcrum of each day’s SXSW Conference programming, each hour-long Keynote is a presentation of a compelling, timely topic by one of the world’s most inspired thinkers.

2020 Keynotes feature speakers from Interactive, Film, Music, and Convergence Tracks.

Access these exciting speaker presentations and more when you register to join us this March for the 2020 SXSW Conference & Festivals in Austin, TX. Stay tuned for more SXSW programming announcements throughout the season at SXSW News.

For more big-name speakers at SXSW, also browse the Featured Speakers page.

2020 Keynotes

 

Gabo Arora

2020 SXSW Keynote, Gabo Arora - Photo by Pablo Mahava Fernández

Gabo Arora (Convergence Keynote) – Gabo Arora is a world renowned award winning immersive artist, professor and former UN diplomat who works with the most cutting-edge emerging technologies, such as virtual and augmented reality, to tell some of the most important stories of our time. His work has made measurable social impact as part of campaigns for the United Nations, USC Shoah foundation and the Nobel Peace Prize committee, amongst many others, and is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He has had the honor of being the UN’s first-ever creative director; a Davos World Economic Forum Arts and culture leader; a member of the Council of Foreign Relations; and is the Founding Director of a new academic department and lab dedicated to Immersive Storytelling and Emerging Technologies ( ISET ) at Johns Hopkins University.

Erin Lee Carr

2020 SXSW Keynote, Erin Lee Carr – Photo courtesy of the speaker

Erin Lee Carr (Film Keynote) – Named one of the “30 Under 30” most influential people in media by Forbes, Erin Lee Carr is a director, producer, and writer. Carr’s projects include the USA gymnastics scandal documentary At the Heart of Gold, and SXSW Film Festival premiere I Love You: Now Die, on the Michelle Carter murder-by-texting trial, both made for HBO. Carr is also the author of the memoir All That You Leave Behind.

St. Vincent a/k/a Annie Clark & Carrie Brownstein

St. Vincent a/k/a Annie Clark and Carrie Brownstein, Music Keynotes - Photos Courtesy of Speakers

St. Vincent a/k/a Annie Clark & Carrie Brownstein (Music Keynote) – St. Vincent a/k/a Annie Clark has been hailed as one of the most innovative and enigmatic presences in modern music since the 2007 release of Marry Me. Her discography includes Actor (2009), Strange Mercy (2011), the GRAMMY-winning St. Vincent (2014) and MASSEDUCTION (2017), and MassEducation (2018). Her creative output also includes co-writing and starring in THE NOWHERE INN, designing her signature Ernie Ball Music Man guitar and more.

Carrie Brownstein is a writer, director, and musician. She is a founding member of the critically acclaimed rock band Sleater-Kinney and author of the New York Times best-seller, Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl. She, along with Fred Armisen, was the co-creator and co-star of the sketch-comedy series, Portlandia. The show aired for eight seasons, winning both a Peabody and a WGA Award. Brownstein’s work on the show garnered her eight Primetime Emmy nominations in the categories of Outstanding Variety Sketch Series, Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series, and Outstanding Directing for a Variety Series. Brownstein has directed television shows for HBO, NBC, Comedy Central, and Hulu.

Diplo

2020 SXSW Keynote, Diplo

Diplo (Music Keynote) – Diplo, born Thomas Wesley Pentz, is one of the most dynamic forces in music today. A celebrated recording artist, producer, and DJ the world over, he has just this past year launched a new house-music focused label, Higher Ground, and a country music project, Thomas Wesley Presents, featuring collaborations with stars Morgan Wallen, Jonas Brothers and Cam. In addition, he is a founding member of the global trio Major Lazer, whose latest release is “Que Calor” featuring J Balvin & El Alfa; LSD with Sia and Labrinth, whose 2019 album has been streamed more than 1 billion times; and Silk City, his Grammy-winning duo with Mark Ronson. As the world’s most in-demand producer, Diplo has worked with artists including Beyoncé, Madonna, Justin Bieber, M.I.A. and many more.

Reggie Fils-Aimé

2020 SXSW Keynote, Reggie Fils-Aimé

Reggie Fils-Aimé (Convergence Keynote) – As an award-winning innovator and disrupter, Reggie Fils-Aimé has helped bring Nintendo’s greatest successes to the global marketplace over the past 15 years. He retired as President and Chief Operating Officer of Nintendo of America Inc. in April 2019 with world-wide acclaim as an executive who loved leading his business and interacting with its employees, business associates and consumers. Before Nintendo, Fils-Aimé had a successful career spanning the consumer-packaged goods, restaurant, beverage, and media/entertainment industries. Since retiring, he has focused his energy to grow the next generation of business leaders. In August 2019, he was named Cornell University’s Dyson Undergraduate Business School Leader in Residence. Fils-Aimé also founded Brentwood Growth Partners to help emerging companies scale and enable leaders to create world-class cultures.

Kim Gordon

2020 SXSW Keynote, Kim Gordon – Photo by Natalia Mantini

Kim Gordon (Music Keynote) – With a career spanning nearly four decades, Kim Gordon is one of the most prolific and elusive artists working today. A Co-Founder of the legendary Sonic Youth, Gordon has performed all over the world, collaborating with many of music’s most exciting figures including Tony Conrad, Ikue Mori, Julie Cafritz and Stephen Malkmus. Most recently, Gordon has been hitting the road with Body/Head, her spellbinding partnership with artist and musician Bill Nace and debuted her solo exhibition “She Bites Her Tender Mind” at IMMA (Irish Museum of Modern Art) in Dublin and “Lo-Fi Glamour” at Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, PA. Despite her expansive and diverse résumé, the most consistent aspect of Gordon’s body of work may be its resistance to formula. Works discover themselves as they unspool, each one performing a test of the medium’s possibilities and limits. Her command is astonishing, but Gordon’s artistic curiosity remains the guiding force behind her music. Gordon continues this pursuit on No Home Record, her first-ever solo release, produced by Justin Raisen (Charli XCX, Ariel Pink, Sky Ferreira) at Sphere Ranch in Los Angeles, along with contributions from Shawn Everett (Jim James, The Voidz, The War on Drugs) and composer/filmmaker Jake Meginsky (L’appel Du Vide).

Soo-Man Lee & Michelle Jubelirer

Soo-Man Lee and Michelle Jubelier, Music Keynotes - Photos courtesy of speakers

Soo-Man Lee & Michelle Jubelirer (Music Keynote) – Soo-Man Lee is the founder of SM Entertainment, one of Asia’s largest entertainment groups. For 25 years, Lee has led SM in innovating the modern K-Pop industry, pioneering the global success of Korean popular culture, and continually setting the cutting edge for Asian popular music. His newest group, SuperM, recently debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 in partnership with Capitol Records.

Michelle Jubelirer has been COO of Capitol Music Group since 2015. Her numerous responsibilities include overseeing business and legal affairs, A&R administration, and release planning for Capitol, and for CMG’s label imprints: Astralwerks, Blue Note, Caroline, and Harvest. Michelle began her career as an attorney at New York’s Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in 1999 before joining Sony Music in 2003. She moved to Los Angeles in 2005 where she served as a Partner at King, Holmes, Paterno & Berliner for nearly five years. She joined Capitol Music Group as Executive Vice President in 2013. Jubelirer is on the National Board of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and is the mother of one son.

Janelle Monáe

Janelle Monáe, 2020 Convergence Keynote - Photo courtesy of speaker

Janelle Monáe (Convergence Keynote) – Janelle Monáe is one of the most celebrated artists of our time. An 8-time Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter, producer, performer, activist, and fashion icon, she is known worldwide for her inimitable style and visionary sound, which celebrates the spectrum of identity. Monáe’s album Dirty Computer was nominated for two Grammy  awards in the categories of ‘Album of the Year’ and ‘Best Music Video’. As a humanitarian, her position as a co-chair for When We All Vote, and her Fem the Future initiative, empowering other female filmmakers inspires and empowers not only fellow creatives but society as a whole.

As an actor, this April Janelle will headline the upcoming dramatic thriller ANTEBELLUM from the acclaimed writing and directing team, Gerard Bush & Christopher Renz. Lionsgate will release the film on April 24th, 2020. Premiering at Sundance, Janelle can next be seen in the upcoming Gloria Steinem biopic, THE GLORIAS: A LIFE ON THE ROAD, as Dorothy Pitman Hughes. This year, Janelle will also star in the second season of Amazon’s critically acclaimed series, HOMECOMING. Janelle was recently on the big screen in Kasi Lemmon’s HARRIET (Cynthia Erivo) for Focus Features, and Janelle voices the role of the wise-cracking pound dog “Peg” and performs two original songs in Disney’s remake of LADY AND THE TRAMP, in collaboration with her Wondaland Arts Society team.

Cat Packer & Kelly Perez

Cat Packer and Kelly Perez, 2020 Convergence Keynotes - Photos Courtesy of Speakers

Cat Packer & Kelly Perez (Convergence Keynotes) – Cat Packer is the first, Executive Director and General Manager of the Department of Cannabis Regulation. Within this role, Packer leads the licensing and regulation of commercial cannabis activity within the City of Los Angeles and furthermore, manages the implementation of the City’s cannabis related policies and programs. Prior to joining the City of Los Angeles, Packer served as California Policy Coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance, where she worked to ensure the successful and equitable implementation of various cannabis policy reforms. Before this role, Packer served as Campaign Coordinator for Californians for Responsible Marijuana Reform, a social justice-centered campaign in support of the 2016 Adult Use of Marijuana Act. Prior to moving to Los Angeles, Packer advocated for cannabis policy reform in Ohio. There, she participated in a statewide policy reform effort and for a brief period of time served as the Deputy Director of Ohio National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML’s) Central Ohio Chapter. Packer is an alumna of The Ohio State University where she received a Bachelor’s in Political Science, a Master’s in Public Policy & Management and a Juris Doctor.

Kelly Perez is the CEO/co-founder of kindColorado, and of President of Cannabis Doing Good, created to connect cannabis businesses to community, and to highlight the good that the sector is doing. kindColorado’s trademarked, Cannabis Social Responsibility (CSR), puts into action, purpose-driven cannabis partnerships to support equity/justice, community engagement impact, and environmental sustainability. CSR helps to shift the cannabis narrative—from the War on Drugs, to a cultural sea change where opportunities are equitable, policy is just, communities benefit, and cannabis is a circular economic practice.

Laurene Powell Jobs

2020 SXSW Keynote, Laurene Powell Jobs

Laurene Powell Jobs (Convergence Keynote) – Laurene Powell Jobs is founder and president of Emerson Collective. Based in Palo Alto with a strong presence in Oakland, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., Emerson Collective uses philanthropy, impact investing, and promoting policy solutions to reimagine some of society’s most calcified systems and create new possibilities for individuals, families, and communities. Emerson’s mission centers on advancing immigration policies, preserving the environment, re-envisioning the future of high school, and ending gun violence in Chicago.

Powell Jobs serves as board chair of The XQ Institute and College Track, a college completion program she founded in 1997 to combat the alarming achievement gap among students of color. She also serves on the Stanford University Board of Trustees and the boards of Chicago CRED, Conservation International, and The Council on Foreign Relations. She is co-owner of The Atlantic, Anonymous Content and Concordia Studio, and an investor in Monumental Sports & Entertainment.

Powell Jobs earned her bachelor’s degrees in political science and economics from the University of Pennsylvania, and an MBA from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross & Damon Lindelof

Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, and Damon Lindelof, 2020 Convergence Keynotes - Photos courtesy of speakers

Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross & Damon Lindelof (Convergence Keynote) – Oscar, Golden Globe, and Grammy Award-winning composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross — who also comprise Nine Inch Nails, which will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this Spring and join Emmy Award-winning Executive Producer and writer Damon Lindelof to discuss their collaboration on the HBO series Watchmen.

Lulu Wang

Lulu Wang, 2020 Film Keynote - Photo Courtesy of Speaker

Lulu Wang (Film Keynote) – With the rare ability to captivate audiences with her sincere storytelling, Lulu Wang continues to establish herself as a writer and filmmaker to watch. In July 2019, Wang released her second feature The Farewell, which she both wrote and directed. After premiering at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, The Farewell has since been nominated for multiple awards including “Best Feature” and “Best Screenplay” at the 2019 Gotham Independent Film Awards, “Best Feature” at the 2020 Independent Film Spirit Awards, as well as “Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language” at the 2020 Golden Globe Awards. Wang will serve as executive producer and writer on the upcoming Amazon Original series, The Expatriates.

Roger Waters & Michael Moore

Roger Waters and Michael Moore, Music Keynotes - Photos courtesy of Speakers

Roger Waters & Michael Moore (Music Keynote) – A founding member and the creative force behind Pink Floyd, Roger Waters composed their multi-platinum albums including The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals, and The Wall. He has toured extensively, and with The Wall became the most successful touring solo artist ever. Waters produced, co-directed, and co-wrote Roger Waters: The Wall, an intensely personal road trip that deals with the loss that he has felt throughout his life due to war. In Amsterdam, June 2018, Waters filmed his US + THEM live show. US + THEM is a story of human rights, liberty, and love.

At SXSW, Roger Waters will be interviewed about his distinguished career in the music industry and his upcoming tour.

Michael Moore was born in Flint, Michigan. He became an Eagle Scout, attended the seminary for the Catholic priesthood, and at age 18 became the youngest elected official in the country. At 22, he founded the Flint Voice, a nationally-recognized alternative newspaper. In 1989, Michael made his first film, the ground-breaking “Roger & Me,” which gave birth to the modern-day documentary movement. Moore went on to break the documentary box office record two more times with his 2002 Oscar-winning film, “Bowling for Columbine” and the Palme d’Or-winning “Fahrenheit 9/11.” Other notable films include the Oscar-nominated “Sicko,” “Capitalism: A Love Story,” “Where To Invade Next” and “Fahrenheit 11/9.” Michael won the Emmy Award for his prime-time NBC series “TV Nation” and is one of America’s top-selling nonfiction authors, with such books as “Stupid White Men,” *”Dude, Where’s My Country?”, and “Here Comes Trouble”. Michael lives in Traverse City, Michigan, where he founded the Traverse City Film Festival and two art house movie palaces, the State Theatre and the Bijou by the Bay. He has been named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people. He is the host of the “RUMBLE with Michael Moore” podcast.

Whitney Wolfe Herd & Jon Korngold with Gayle King

2020 Keynotes, Whitney Wolfe Herd, Jon Korngold, and Gayle King – Photo courtesy of the speakers

Whitney Wolfe Herd & Jon Korngold in conversation with Gayle King (Interactive Keynote) – Founder and CEO of Bumble Whitney Wolfe Herd and Blackstone’s Global Head of Growth Equity Jon Korngold in conversation with CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King.

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Photo by Tico Mendoza

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