These speakers started from the bottom, and now they’re some of the most influential voices in Hollywood! Hear their industry insights and how they made their filmmaking dreams come true as you explore The Underdogs of Film YouTube playlist. Highlights include Gareth Edwards, Barry Jenkins, Olivia Wilde, and many more! Take a look at their Film Keynotes below.
“I guess I was very lucky because my dad was a bit of a film buff and when I was very young, my parents forced me to watch this film that was kind of artistic and groundbreaking and sort of revolutionary at the same time. It’s been at film festivals, some of you might have heard of it — it was called Star Wars. I instantly knew what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Right there and then, I was going to join the Rebel Alliance and help blow up the Death Star. That was my life goal. That was my plan A.”
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was Edwards’ third feature. His directorial film debut, Monsters, world premiered at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival and we were thrilled to include him in our 25 Years series.
“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. I remember being here in 2008 and sitting in a room just like this, listening to people talk on a stage behind a podium, just like this, and wondering ‘what does it take to get from the back of that room to the front of this stage?’ That was ten years ago…”
Born and raised in Miami, Jenkins’ feature film debut Medicine For Melancholy world premiered at the SXSW Film Festival in 2008, and was hailed as one of the best films of 2009 by The New York Times. Jenkins, along with playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney, 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).
“I realized if I wanted things to change, if I wanted to make my voice heard, I was going to have to shift the paradigm from within and that is really hard. Especially because I have been working in this industry since I was eighteen… for seventeen years, almost two decades, which is truly insane. I got to celebrate my 35th birthday, here, last night at my premiere, and it was truly the most special day of my life.”
Wilde is a modern-day Renaissance woman with a resume ranging from director and actress to producer and activist. Her speech touched upon her early career, finding a creative partner, and the importance of giving people chances.