Keynotes PJ Raval, Dawn Ostroff, Matt Lieber, Michael Mignano & More Featured Speakers Join SXSW 2019

SXSW 2019 Conference Keynote PJ Raval and Featured Speakers Jodie Foster, Ashley Graham, and Malcolm Gladwell

With SXSW 2019 so close, we’re absolutely ecstatic to announce more Keynotes and Featured Speakers from across the 25 Tracks of the SXSW Conference.

We’re pleased to announce a Keynote from award-winning filmmaker PJ Raval as well as a Keynote Conversation between Spotify Chief Content Officer Dawn Ostroff, Gimlet Co-Founder Matt Lieber, and Anchor Co-Founder Michael Mignano. Among the Featured Speakers revealed today are author Safi Bahcall; award-winning journalist Katie Couric; actress Kaitlyn Dever; actress Beanie Feldstein; award-winning actress and director Jodie Foster and MasterClass CEO and cofounder David Rogier; entrepreneur and model Ashley Graham; journalist and author Malcolm Gladwell; writer and director Noah Hawley; actress Billie Lourd, NBC News president Noah Oppenheim, and more.

“SXSW continues to be a unique destination for innovation and discovery,” said Hugh Forrest, Chief Programming Officer. “The addition of groundbreaking filmmakers like PJ Raval and influential voices like Ashley Graham and Malcolm Gladwell expresses the depth of the event, and we’re so pleased about how the whole of Conference programming has come together.”

Don’t miss your opportunity to hear these speakers live! Join us from March 8-17 in Austin, TX at the SXSW Conference & Festivals. Register so that you can be a part of this diverse programming. Get to know the latest speaker additions below and add them to your custom SXSW Schedule.


PJ Raval (Film Keynote) — Named one of Out Magazine’s “Out 100”, PJ’s documentary film credits include Trinidad (Showtime, LOGO) and Before You Know It (PBS). Raval’s recent film Call Her Ganda is an intimate investigation into Jennifer Laude, a trans woman in the Philippines who was murdered by a US Marine. Theatrically released fall of 2018, Call Her Ganda is slated for US broadcast summer of 2019 and is currently nominated for a 2019 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Documentary. Raval is also the filmmaker behind the provocative and unapologetic Christeene music video series, hailed by the Hollywood Reporter as something you “desperately wish you could unsee.” He is also part of the producing team behind Travis Mathew’s psychological thriller Discreet and Ivete Lucas and Patrick Bresnan’s documentary Pahokee. Also an accomplished cinematographer, Raval shot the Academy Award‐nominated Best Documentary Trouble the Water and is 2015 Guggenheim Fellow.
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Dawn Ostroff, Matt Lieber, and Michael Mignano (Convergence Keynote) — Did you know people spend about the same amount of time on video as they do on audio? Yet the video market is worth approximately one trillion dollars, while music and radio together is currently valued at roughly one tenth of this. Spotify’s Chief Content Officer Dawn Ostroff, Gimlet’s President Matthew Lieber, and Anchor’s CEO Michael Mignano believe our ears are worth just as much as our eyes. The conversation will range from content creation and episodic production to how creator tools will evolve from a product standpoint. Join Ostroff, Lieber, and Mignano for their first collective interview since Spotify acquired podcasting companies Gimlet and Anchor. Together they’ll discuss the enormous opportunity in audio and why they believe the next phase of growth starts with podcasting.
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PJ Raval, Dawn Ostroff, Matt Lieber, and Michael Mignano join previously-announced Keynotes Adam Horovitz & Michael Diamond of Beastie Boys with Amazon Music’s Nathan Brackett (Music), John Boehner with Kevin Murphy (Convergence), Jessica Brillhart (Film), Bozoma Saint John (Convergence),T Bone Burnett (Music), Joseph Lubin (Interactive), Shirley Manson and Lauren Mayberry with Puja Patel (Music), Roger McNamee with Nicholas Thompson (Interactive), Marti Noxon (Film), Kara Swisher with Special Guest (Interactive), Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger with Josh Constine (Interactive), and Olivia Wilde (Film).

Featured Sessions

Safi Bahcall (Future Workplace) — Safi Bahcall is author of Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas that Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries. Loonshots reveals what an idea from physics tells us about the behavior of groups and how teams, companies, and nations can use that to innovate faster and better. Bahcall received his BA in physics from Harvard and his PhD from Stanford, where he worked with Lenny Susskind in particle physics and the Nobel laureate Bob Laughlin in condensed matter physics. After working for three years as a consultant for McKinsey, Bahcall co-founded a biotechnology company developing new drugs for cancer. He led its IPO and served as its CEO for 13 years.
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Booksmart Women Featured Session (Entertainment Influencers) – Told from a wildly original, fresh and modern perspective, Booksmart is an unfiltered comedy about high school friendships and the bonds we create that last a lifetime. Capturing the spirit of our times, the film is a coming of age story for a new generation. Join director Olivia Wilde, producer Jessica Elbaum, screenwriter Katie Silberman and cast members Kaitlyn Dever, Beanie Feldstein, and Billie Lourd talk about female friendships, women in comedy and the film’s journey to the big screen. Moderated by Variety’s Jenelle Riley.
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Katie Couric (Health & MedTech) — Katie Couric is an award-winning journalist, Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C) co-founder, and New York Times best-selling author. SU2C has raised over $623 million to fund scientific research teams. She is also founder of Katie Couric Media (KCM), which is actively involved in developing and producing a range of scripted and non-scripted projects. The female-driven company is also working with brands that are aligned with its goal of creating premium content about socially relevant issues. KCM’s most recent project, Getting There, is a six-part web series for theSkimm, sponsored by P&G which profiles well-known and highly accomplished women.
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CRISPR: Exploring the Line Between Human and Nature Session (Health & MedTech) — A scientist, an ethicist, and a journalist walk onto a panel, what’s the punchline? CRISPR. If you haven’t heard about CRISPR, you will. And once you hear about it, you start seeing it everywhere. To call CRISPR a tool for gene editing, is sort of like calling the internal combustion engine a tool for movement. Because CRISPR is also a revolution in how we as a species see our world, and ourselves. Join Alito Charo, Rachel Haurwitz, Elliot Kirschner, and Dan Rather for a discussion on the implications and impacts of CRISPR.
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The Female Gaze Featured Session (Film & TV Industry) — What happens when we look at the world from a female point of view? What can audiences gain by looking at film through a female lens? “The Female Gaze” will open up a conversation about seeing film and being seen in film for those who don’t identify with being white, cis, or male. Inspired by her book by the same name, the panel will be moderated by author and Fandango correspondent Alicia Malone. Joining Malone are three filmmakers, Chelsea Hernandez, Karen Maine, and Kestrin Pantera, who are ready to share their experiences and offer insight about navigating the intersection of art and identity.
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Ashley Graham (Social & Global Impact) — Ashley Graham is a model and entrepreneur whose influence has reshaped the fashion and media industries and redefined traditional beauty standards. In addition to designing her own size inclusive lingerie, swimwear and clothing, Graham is a brand ambassador for Revlon, making her the first curvy model of her generation to land a major beauty contract. She is currently the host of Lifetime’s American Beauty Star, as well as her own podcast, Pretty Big Deal, featuring intimate, off the cuff conversations with some of the boldest, most influential people in the world.
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Noah Hawley with Bryn Elise Sandberg (Entertainment Influencers) — A conversation with FX’s Fargo and Legion creator, writer, and director, Noah Hawley, on his career and making television (and film) in today’s fractured entertainment landscape.
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The Job: Work and Its Future in a Time of Radical Change Featured Session (Future Workplace) — Work is changing, and fast – automation and globalization have hollowed out middle-class jobs, and knowledge jobs of all sorts are under threat. Join Ellen Shell as she digs deep on our national work disorder, exploring the causes, exploding the myths, and offering up some surprising remedies.
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MasterClass with Jodie Foster and David Rogier Featured Session (Entertainment Influencers) — Over her 52 year career, Foster has appeared in more than 40 major films, directed four feature-length movies and won nearly 60 awards—among them, two Academy Awards, two BAFTA Awards, four Juniper Awards and three Golden Globes, including the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement. David Rogier is the co-founder and CEO of MasterClass, where he is leading the company’s re-imagination of online education. Join Jodie and David in a discussion on the power of adopting a growth mindset and lifelong learning approach and their desire to inspire the next generation of creatives.
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Noah Oppenheim and Stephen Battaglio (Media & Journalism) — We are in a renaissance age for journalism. In the last two years, NBC News has emerged as a bona fide leader in original reporting, an area traditionally dominated by print, with over 500 investigative scoops on such wide-ranging topics as the USA gymnastics scandal, the Mueller investigation, cyber security, North Korea’s nuclear production, and harm caused by medical devices. How are they doing it? They have doubled their commitment and their staff of investigative journalists. Noah Oppenheim, President of NBC News, will discuss the importance of original journalism with Stephen Battaglio, television and media writer of the Los Angeles Times, joined by NBC News investigative journalists Carol Lee and Ken Dilanian.
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Making the Fight Against Cancer Even More Personal Session (Health & MedTech) — Cancer, the diagnosis that no one wants to hear but the one that is increasingly more common. Like the disease itself, the fight against cancer is personal and everyone who gets that diagnosis has to choose their battles, muster all of their resources (physical, mental, financial, social, etc.) to fight through the war. Fortunately, techniques identified by 2018 Nobel Prize winning scientist James Allison and team are changing the outcomes by helping our bodies use our own immune systems to fight against cancer cells. Join us to learn about the drivers that led to the discovery, how this technology is extending lives today, and where it can go tomorrow.
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Self-Driving Cars: The Future is When? Featured Session (Tech Industry & Enterprise) — Like it or not, self-driving vehicles are coming. Some say they’re already here. With ever-increasing speed, the technology for creating both autonomous private vehicles and public transportation is becoming a reality. But who do we become when we relinquish control to machines? How safe will these vehicles be? What will they look like? And who owns the data they generate? To mark the SXSW world premiere of his new documentary, Autonomy, Malcolm Gladwell (author and host of Revisionist History) joins Chris Urmson (CEO of Aurora Innovation) and NBC News Correspondent Jo Ling Kent for a conversation about where we’re heading and who we’ll be when we get there.
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The War for Kindness: Building Empathy in a Fractured World Featured Session (Social & Global Impact) — Empathy is in short supply. Alienation and tribalism are rampant. Research shows that people are less caring than we were just ten years ago, but most of us don’t need a study to tell us that. It doesn’t have to be this way. In this powerful talk, Jamil Zaki, a world leader in empathy science, argues that our ability to care is not a fixed trait, but a skill we can grow through practice. Drawing on cutting-edge research, including experiments from his own lab, he demonstrates how empathy-building can overcome toxic cultural divisions. He shares stories of people — from cops to teachers to ex-neo Nazis — who are living these principles and fighting for kindness among the toughest of circumstances.
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You’re Wrong, Leonard Maltin!! Featured Session (Entertainment Influencers) — Perennial film critic Leonard Maltin is the ultimate movie fan and his reviews are legendary. But…are they right? In the spirit of kindness and with the communal understanding that film is subjective and opinions come in all colors of the rainbow, You’re Wrong, Leonard Maltin — joined by Jessie Maltin — gives audience members a rare opportunity to challenge the movie master himself on his categorical cinematic conclusions. It’s a conversation between battling beliefs…and possibly the only chance you will ever get in your entire life to convince Leonard Maltin that his movie methodology is mortally mistaken, and, in fact, WRONG.
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Dive into 2019 Music Tracks

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So, will we see you in March?

Get your SXSW Badge and reserve your hotel today to attend SXSW 2019 and experience these Conference sessions along with 10 days of screenings, showcases, exhibitions, networking, and more this March 8-17 in Austin, TX.

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Photos courtesy of the speakers (l-r): PJ Raval, Jodie Foster, Ashley Graham, and Malcolm Gladwell

All speakers subject to change

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