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Barry Jenkins Will Return to SXSW As 2018’s Film Keynote Speaker

The Academy Award-winning filmmaker premiered his "Medicine for Melancholy" at the Austin, TX fest.

Barry Jenkins Moonlight

Barry Jenkins

Daniel Bergeron

“Moonlight” filmmaker and Oscar winner Barry Jenkins’ very well-deserved victory lap is about to come full circle. While next year’s SXSW Conference and Festivals is nearly nine months out, the director has been tapped to deliver the 2018 Film Keynote speech, returning him to the festival that helped launch his career.

Jenkins premiered his debut film, “Medicine for Melancholy,” at the festival back in 2008. It went on to screen at LAFF and TIFF and helped launch Jenkins’ career.

“We are overjoyed to invite Barry Jenkins back to SXSW as a Film Keynote having presented the world premiere of his first feature, ‘Medicine for Melancholy,’ in 2008,” said Janet Pierson, Director of Film, in an official statement. “’Moonlight; is a magnificent piece of work, transcendent, and made on his own terms. We couldn’t be happier for his success and to have this remarkable artist with such a generous soul return to SXSW.”

Jenkins will be joined by a variety of speakers across other sections of the rapidly expanding festival and conference event, including best-selling author Esther Perel and technology entrepreneur and quantum computing expert whurley.

“SXSW has become a premier destination for innovation and creative discovery. We’re pleased to begin our 2018 season with strong programming that represents a diverse and talented group of pioneers in the technology, social sciences, healthcare, and entertainment industries,” said Hugh Forrest, Chief Programming Officer, in an official statement. “The depth and breadth of knowledge these speakers bring to the event is an excellent indicator that this is going to be one of our best years ever.”

Check out the full list of Keynotes and Featured Speakers below, with all information provided by SXSW.


Barry Jenkins (Film Keynote) – 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.”

Esther Perel (Interactive Keynote) – Psychotherapist Esther Perel is recognized as one of today’s most insightful and original voices on modern love. Fluent in nine languages, she holds 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 more than 18 million views and her bestseller “Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence” became a global phenomenon translated into 24 languages. Her recent book, “The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity,” is another example of her bold synthesis of complex cultural shifts.

whurley (Convergence Keynote) – whurley is a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs and the founder of Honest Dollar, a fintech company Goldman purchased in 2016. He is the Chair of the Quantum Standards Working Group at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). 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.

Featured Speakers

Bob Richards (Intelligent Future) – Bob Richards is a space entrepreneur and futurist. He is a Co-Founder of the International Space University, Singularity University, SEDS, the Space Generation Foundation, and Moon Express, Inc., a space transportation and lunar resources company located at Cape Canaveral, where he currently serves as President and CEO.

Bernard J. Tyson (Health & Wellness) – Bernard J. Tyson is the chairman and CEO of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Hospitals — known as Kaiser Permanente, one of America’s leading integrated health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Under Tyson’s leadership, Kaiser Permanente continues to focus on providing affordable, accessible, high-quality health care and improving the health of its members and communities.

Ingrid Vanderveldt (Startup & Tech Sectors) – Ingrid Vanderveldt is the Chairman and CEO of Empowering a Billion Women by 2020 (EBW2020). Previously, she was the first Entrepreneur-in-Residence (“EIR”) for Dell Inc. where she oversaw entrepreneurial initiatives worldwide helping to build a $250 million business segment and founded the $125M Dell Innovators Credit Fund, Dell Founders Club, and the Dell Center for Entrepreneurs during her 3-year term.

Cleo Wade (Social Impact) – Cleo Wade, an outspoken artist, speaker, poet, and the author of a forthcoming book, is an inspiring voice in today’s world for gender and race equality. She creates motivating messages, blending simplicity with positivity, femininity and arresting honesty. Her poems, accessible yet empowering, speak to a greater future for all women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community, preaching love, acceptance, justice, and peace.

Amy Webb (Startup & Tech Sectors) – Amy Webb is an author, futurist and Founder of the Future Today Institute, a strategic foresight and futures forecasting company that advises the world’s leading businesses and governments. Forbes named Amy one of the world’s preeminent thinkers on the future impacts of technology.

SXSW 2018 will take place March 9 – 18, 2018.

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