SXSW Keynote Darren Aronofsky and More Featured Speakers Announced Including Keith Urban, Luvvie Ajayi, and W. Kamau Bell

2018 SXSW Keynote Darren Aronofsky

Announcing Darren Aronofsky – film director, screenwriter, and producer – as the latest Film Keynote for SXSW 2018. Additionally, a new round of cutting-edge Featured Speakers representing storytellers, creative visionaries, and change-makers across 24 tracks join the Conference programming lineup.

"A provocative, and virtuoso filmmaker, we're thrilled to host Darren Aronofsky as one of SXSW Film's 2018 Keynotes," said Janet Pierson, Director of Film. "He's been an original since his first independent work, and we know it will be a blast for our passionate SXSW audiences to hear his story."

Aronofsky joins previously announced Keynotes Ta-Nehisi Coates (Convergence Keynote), Barry Jenkins​ (Film Keynote), Esther Perel ​(Interactive Keynote), and whurley ​(Convergence Keynote).

Featured Speakers announced today include Grammy award-winning singer and songwriter Keith Urban, New York Times best-selling author Luvvie Ajayi, sociopolitical comedian W. Kamau Bell, This American Life creator and host Ira Glass, designer Yiying Lu, and many more.

"Some of the world's most imaginative thinkers are part of today's announcement," said Hugh Forrest, Chief Programming Officer. "These innovative speakers cover the depth and breadth of SXSW content, enhancing our standing as the foremost destination for creative people to gain the practical tools and outside-of-the-box inspiration to achieve their goals."

Register to attend SXSW today! Dive into our speaker lineup below and get ready to explore what’s next in the worlds of film, culture, music, and technology during the 2018 SXSW Conference & Festivals from March 9-18 in Austin, TX. Stay tuned for more Keynotes and Featured Speakers to be announced in November.

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Darren Aronofsky (Film Keynote) – 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).

2018 Keynotes

Featured Speakers

Luvvie Ajayi (Social Impact) – Luvvie Ajayi, the New York Times best-selling author of I’M JUDGING YOU: The Do-Better Manual, is a speaker and digital strategist who thrives at the intersection of comedy, technology, and activism. A fourteen-year blogging veteran, she is the voice behind Awesomely Luvvie, a widely-respected humor blog that covers everything pop culture – from TV, movies, and technology to travel, race, and life’s random adventures.

W. Kamau Bell (Social Impact) – W. Kamau Bell is a sociopolitical comedian based in The People’s Republic of Berkeley, California. Bell is the host of the Emmy Award-winning CNN Original Series United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell. The series also received an Emmy and a Television Critics Association Award nomination in its first season. The third season of United Shades will premiere in 2018 on CNN.

Stefan Blom with Josh Constine (Sync, Stream & License) - Stefan Blom is Chief Content Officer at Spotify. In his role as CCO, Blom has responsibility for the company’s content and distribution operations, including all licensing, programming, studios & original content, industry & creators relationships, and products globally. Prior to his role at Spotify, Blom held senior positions at EMI Music, most recently as CEO and Chairman of the group’s Nordic operations, and prior to that as EVP Commercial Development in a global capacity. Josh Constine is the Editor-At-Large for TechCrunch where he specializes in deep analysis of social products.

Sandy Carter (Startup & Tech Sectors) – Sandy Carter is an Amazon Web Services VP focused on Enterprise Workloads and helping companies with innovation. A leading pioneer in the digital business revolution, Sandy was a driving force of Innovation at IBM for the last decade. Carter is an extreme innovator and best-selling author with her fifth book Extreme Innovation, built on her research with Carnegie Mellon.

Ana Marie Cox and Bree Newsome (Social Impact) - Ana Marie Cox is a political columnist and culture critic. She conducts the "Talk" interviews featured in The New York Times Magazine. She also hosts With Friends Like These, a podcast from Crooked Media. Bree Newsome is a community organizer and activist who removed the Confederate battle flag from the South Carolina State House. Newsome rallies the spirit with her impassioned message about racial equality and illustrates how, with courage, zeal, and the support of others, ordinary people can make an extraordinary difference.

Ira Glass (News & Journalism) – Ira Glass is the host and creator of the radio program and podcast This American Life. The show is heard each week by over 2.2 million listeners on more than 500 public radio stations in the United States, Australia, and Canada, with another 2.5 million listening to the podcast. Under Glass's editorial direction, This American Life has won the highest honors for broadcasting and journalistic excellence, including five Peabody awards.

Tristan Harris (Design) – Tristan Harris was previously a Design Ethicist at Google and left to lead Time Well Spent, a non-profit movement to align technology with our humanity. Time Well Spent aims to transform the race for attention by revealing how technology steers two billion people’s thoughts and choices, and by demonstrating how new incentives and design practices can transform our technology environment to align with our best interests. Harris has spent a decade researching what influences our minds, drawing on insights from sleight.

Hugh Herr, Aimee Mullins, and Professor Hans Georg Näder (Intelligent Future) – Time Magazine coined Dr. Hugh Herr the "Leader of the Bionic Age" because of his revolutionary work in the emerging field of Biomechatronics – technology that marries human physiology with electromechanics. Athlete and model Aimee Mullins became the first amputee in history to compete in the NCAA and was the first person ever to be outfitted with woven carbon fiber sprinting prostheses. She then went on to set World Records in the 100 meter, the 200 meter, and the long jump and has since built a career in film and television. Hans Georg Näder heads the world’s largest prosthetic and orthotic manufacturers dedicated to help people regain their mobility. A third-generation family-owned business, Ottobock and has worked with the Paralympics since 1988, producing hockey sledges and custom prosthetics for skiers, snowboarders, and sprinters.

Yiying Lu (Design) – Yiying Lu was born in Shanghai China, educated in Sydney, Australia and London, UK, and is now based in San Francisco's Silicon Valley as a Creative Director. She is an award-winning artist and designer with more than 10 years of experience in the creative realm. Lu was named a "Top 10 Emerging Leader in Innovation" in the Microsoft Next 100 series.

David Marcus (Intelligent Future) – David Marcus is the Vice President of Messaging Products at Facebook responsible for Messenger, which is used by hundreds of millions of people around the world daily. Marcus joined Facebook in 2014 from PayPal where he spent the previous two years as the company’s President and previously as Vice President of Mobile, leading its mobile products and business.

Bruce Mau (Design) – Bruce Mau, Chief Design Officer at Freeman, is a brilliantly creative optimist whose love of thorny problems led him to create a methodology for whole system transformation. Twenty-five years in the business of design gave Mau the practical, holistic insights for going into the design of business with his Massive Change Network five years ago. In doing so, Mau laid the foundation for the new discipline of enterprise design, successfully applying his design thinking methodology to economic, cultural, governmental, environmental, and social change.

Daniel H. Pink (Workplace) – Daniel H. Pink is the author of several books about management, work, and behavioral science, including The New York Times best-sellers Drive, To Sell is Human, and A Whole New Mind. His books have won multiple awards and have been translated into 35 languages.

Brian Solis (Brands & Marketing) – Brian Solis is Principal Analyst and Futurist at Altimeter, the digital analyst group at Prophet and has been called one of the greatest digital analysts of our time by CMOs and CEOs of top brands. Additionally, Solis is an award-winning author of seven best-selling books including X: The Experience When Business Meets Design, What’s the Future of Business (WTF), and The End of Business as Usual.

Roy Spence (Workplace) – Roy Spence is the chairman and co-founder of the advertising agency GSD&M and author of the books The Amazing Faith of Texas and It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For: Why Every Extraordinary Business Is Driven By Purpose. Spence is also Co-Founder and CEO of The Purpose Institute which helps organizations and leaders discover and fulfill their purpose.

Keith Urban (Music Culture & Stories) – Keith Urban is a premier songwriter, vocalist, musician, and virtuoso guitarist. Over the course of his career, Urban has earned four Grammy Awards, ten Country Music Association Awards, eleven Academy of Country Music Awards, a People’s Choice and an American Music Award. His eighth studio album, RIPCORD, produced four #1 songs, bringing Urban’s total of #1s to twenty-two. Having achieved platinum status in 2016, one of only two country artists to hit that mark, Urban extends his historic streak (9) of platinum or multi-platinum albums.

Lawrence Wright (Government) – Lawrence Wright is a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author of nine previous books of nonfiction including In the New World, Remembering Satan, The Looming Tower, Going Clear, Thirteen Days in September, and The Terror Years, and one novel, God's Favorite. His books have received many prizes and honors, including a Pulitzer Prize for The Looming Tower. His latest book, God Save Texas: A Journey into the Soul of the Lone Star State, will be released in Spring 2018.

2018 Featured Speakers

Join Us March 9-18, 2018

Register to attend by October 20 to experience 10 days of sessions, screenings, showcases, exhibitions, networking, and beyond. With expanded access to events for all registrants, attendees will receive primary access to programming associated with their badge type but now also enjoy secondary entry to most other SXSW events. Save big when you register before Friday, October 20 at 11:59pm PT.

Discover the perfect badge for you – take the Tracks Quiz to select SXSW Conference programming tracks and SXSW Festivals that interest you the most to generate your badge result. To experience SXSW to the max, the Platinum Badge remains your best bet with primary access to all of SXSW.

Book your hotel with SXSW Housing & Travel to get the best available housing rates and selections. Great downtown accommodations are still available for all SXSW dates.

Tune in tomorrow – same SXSW-channel, same SXSW-time – as we reveal more big programming of the music variety. Sign up for SXSW Event Updates and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to stay in the SX know throughout the season as more programming is announced (Hint: The SXSW announcement forecast predicts a programming downpour early next week).

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2018 SXSW Conference Keynote, Darren Aronofsky – Photo courtesy the speaker.

By Jordan Roberts