March 8-16, 2019
Keynote speakers embody the spirit, ingenuity, and entrepreneurial drive that SXSW cultivates. These powerful presentations by diverse visionaries from the ever-evolving worlds of Interactive, Film, and Music are the center of the SXSW Conference.
Watch 2018 Keynote Videos
SXSW 2018 Keynote, Sadiq Khan – Photo by Randy & Jackie Smith
At the crux of each day’s SXSW Conference programming, join us for hour-long Keynotes. These presentations by some of the creative and tech industries’ most inspired thinkers cover a wide range of compelling topics.
2019 SXSW Keynotes will take place from Friday, March 8 to Saturday, March 16 and feature speakers from the Interactive, Film, Music, and Convergence Tracks. The SXSW Conference will include 13 total Keynote speakers announced throughout the season.
Watch 2018 Keynote videos below. Stay tuned to SXSW News for 2019 announcements throughout the season.
For more big-name speakers at SXSW, also browse the Featured Speakers page.
Darren Aronofsky – 2018 Film Keynote
"Stories were this universal language that we all share on the planet. The most modern tool for stories is filmmaking."
Brooklyn born and raised, Academy Award®-nominated director Darren Aronofsky is the founder of Protozoa Pictures. He is the writer and director of mother! starring Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, and Michelle Pfeiffer. Last year, Aronofsky produced Jackie. He directed, co-wrote, and produced Noah (2014). Before that he directed the indie box office phenomenon, Black Swan (2010). It starred Natalie Portman who won an Academy Award® for her performance. Aronofsky directed and produced The Wrestler (2008). His earlier credits include directing and writing the acclaimed films: The Fountain (2006); Requiem for a Dream (2000); and Pi (1998).
Ta-Nehisi Coates – 2018 Convergence Keynote
"When you’re called to write, even though you have your opinions, there has to be a basic fairness. Which does not mean objectivity or lack of opinion, but you have to have a loyalty to facts.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent for The Atlantic where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. His book Between The World And Me won the National Book Award in 2015. He is also the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship. Coates' latest book is We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy.
Lyor Cohen – 2018 Music Keynote
“I am open for change, I’m psyched for change. And more importantly, I love music.”
Lyor Cohen is an American music industry executive, currently serving as Global Head of Music at YouTube and Google where he oversees domestic and international music partnerships as well as artist and label relations. He is also founder of 300, a music content company that leverages innovative tech to discover, cultivate and promote rising artists with a boutique focus. Prior to 300, Cohen was the Chairman and CEO of Recorded Music for Warner Music Group. Cohen was intimately involved in the careers of The Killers, fun., Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars, The Black Keys, Jay-Z, Kanye West, and many more.
Nonny de la Peña – 2018 Convergence Keynote
“You don’t experience your world as flat, you experience it with volume.”
Nonny de la Peña is one of the most influential pioneers in virtual and augmented reality. She is founder and CEO of the award-winning Emblematic Group, renowned for using cutting-edge technologies to tell immersive stories that create intense, empathic engagement on the part of viewers. She was named one of CNET’s 20 Most Influential Latinos In Tech, Wired Magazine’s #MakeTechHuman Agent of Change and has been called the "Godmother of VR" by Forbes, Engadget, and The Guardian. Widely credited with inventing the field of immersive journalism by premiering the first-ever VR experience at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012, Hunger In Los Angeles, she is now on the verge of announcing another breakthrough: Emblematic Group’s new REACH web platform, which allows anyone to tell their story in room-scale VR.
Melinda Gates – 2018 Interactive Keynote
"Even though the American workforce has evolved dramatically over the course of my lifetime, the American workplace has not caught up to that."
Philanthropist Melinda Gates has dedicated her life to achieving transformational improvements in the health and prosperity of families, communities and societies. Core to her work is empowering women and girls to help them realize their full potential. As co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is guided by the belief that every life has equal value, Gates shapes and approves strategies, reviews results, and sets the overall direction of the world’s largest private foundation. Gates recently launched an executive office, Pivotal Ventures, which enables her to bring together the different strands of her advocacy and philanthropic work and create meaningful change.
Barry Jenkins – 2018 Film Keynote
"My first film Medicine For Melancholy premiered at this festival, world premiered at this festival. I’d like to say that SXSW is kind of like the birth of Barry Jenkins filmmaker in a sort of way."
Academy Award® winner Barry Jenkins feature film debut, Medicine for Melancholy (which had its world premiere at SXSW in 2008) was hailed as one of the best films of 2009 by The New York Times. Jenkins received an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for his second feature Moonlight, which won Best Picture at both the Oscars and the Golden Globes (Drama). His upcoming projects include adaptations of If Beale Street Could Talk and The Underground Railroad.
Sadiq Khan – 2018 Convergence Keynote
"In some cases, these new [social media] platforms have been used to exacerbate, fuel, and deepen the divisions within our communities. The impact is and continues to be profound and should worry democracies around the world.”
Sadiq Khan is the Mayor of London, having been elected in May 2016 with the largest personal mandate in the history of British politics. Khan began his career practicing law with a focus on human rights, then served as a Member of Parliament representing a constituency in south London for ten years.
Esther Perel – 2018 Interactive Keynote
"I live with one perennial truth: the quality of your relationships is what determines the quality of your life.”
Psychotherapist and New York Times bestselling author Esther Perel is recognized as one of today’s most insightful and original voices on modern relationships. Fluent in nine languages, she helms a therapy practice in New York City and serves as an organizational consultant for Fortune 500 companies around the world. Her celebrated TED Talks have garnered nearly 20 million views and her international bestseller Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence became a global phenomenon translated into 25 languages. Her newest book is the New York Times bestseller The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity (HarperCollins). Perel is also an executive producer and host of the popular Audible original podcast Where Should We Begin?
Linda Perry & Kerry Brown – 2018 Music Keynote
"Rock and roll right now is on a grid. It doesn’t belong on a grid. It belongs on a pulse." – Linda Perry
Songwriter Hall of Fame inductee Linda Perry is best known for her work as the lead singer and chief songwriter of 4 Non Blondes as well as her production and songwriting credits for artists such as Gwen Stefani, Christina Aguilera, Pink, and many more. Artist manager and multi-platinum producer Kerry Brown is known for his recording credits for The Smashing Pumpkins, Miley Cyrus, Ziggy Marley, and more, as well as his film and TV credits for Blow, P.S. I Love You, Scream, and more. Perry and Brown co-founded We Are Hear as a combination record label, publishing house, and management company to provide the services of a major label while nurturing artistic freedom.
whurley – 2018 Convergence Keynote
"I believe that quantum computing is another paradigm shift in computing and I think it can change what we think of as computing more in the next 10 to 15 years than computing has evolved in the last 100 years."
whurley is founder and CEO of Strangeworks, a quantum computing startup based in Austin, Texas. He is the Chair of the Quantum Standards Working Group at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and blogs about quantum computing on superposition.com. His latest book Endless Impossibilities brings the realities of a quantum future into the present, helping readers understand and prepare for the coming age of quantum computing.
Explore SXSW Conference Tracks
The SXSW Conference provides an opportunity for global professionals at every level to participate, learn, and network. Each track allows attendees to explore what’s next in the worlds of entertainment, culture, and technology.
Cast Your Vote: PanelPicker Community Voting August 6-30
Help shape the 2019 SXSW Conference programming! Browse proposals, leave comments, and vote during PanelPicker Community Voting from August 6-30, 2018.
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