Barry Jenkins, Esther Perel, and whurley Announced as 2018 SXSW Keynotes, Plus Featured Speakers

July 24, 2017 Jordan Roberts

We are kicking off the 2018 season early with the reveal of select Keynotes and Featured Speakers for the SXSW Conference. SXSW spotlights some of the industry’s most inspired thinkers, diverse visionaries, and change-makers who share forward-thinking ideas. We are thrilled to share with you our first announcement featuring some of the biggest and brightest names of our time.

Keynotes announced today include Academy Award-winning writer and director Barry Jenkins (Moonlight, Medicine for Melancholy), psychotherapist and best-selling author Esther Perel, and technology entrepreneur and quantum computing expert whurley. Featured Speakers announced today include space entrepreneur and futurist Bob Richards, Kaiser Permanente chairman and CEO Bernard J. Tyson, Empowering a Billion Women by 2020 chairman and CEO Ingrid Vanderveldt, artist and poet Cleo Wade, and author and founder of the Future Today Institute Amy Webb.

“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. “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.”

Beginning Tuesday, August 1, register to attend SXSW and explore what’s next in the worlds of entertainment, culture, and technology during the 2018 SXSW Conference & Festivals from March 9-18 in Austin, TX.

“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, and entertainment industries,” said Hugh Forrest, Chief Programming Officer. “To be able to announce such a strong lineup before registration opens is an excellent indicator that this is going to be one of our best years ever.”

Read more about our first installment of speakers for the 2018 SXSW Conference below. We cannot wait to see what these industry leaders and visionaries share with SXSW attendees.


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.

2018 Keynotes

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.

2018 Featured Speakers

Join Us at SXSW 2018

Registering for SXSW is the only way to experience these fantastic speaker sessions. Mark your calendars for Tuesday, August 1 when registration and housing opens for the 2018 SXSW Conference & Festivals in Austin, Texas from March 9-18. 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. Start planning today by browsing badge types to find the perfect badge for you.

Learn how to participate in one of the many prestigious SXSW categories including SXSW Film Festival submissions, SXSW Music Festival Showcasing Artist applications, Interactive Innovation Awards, SXSW Accelerator Pitch Event, David Carr Prize, and the SXSW Art Program. Then help shape the March event during PanelPicker Community Voting from Monday, August 7 – Friday, August 25.

We have only just begun – stay tuned for many, more big announcements, programming updates, applications, awards, and beyond throughout the season. Sign up for SXSW Event Updates and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Registration Information

2018 SXSW Keynotes (l-r): Berry Jenkins – Photo by courtesy of the speaker; Esther Perel – Photo by Karen Harms; and whurley – Photo courtesy of the speaker.

The post Barry Jenkins, Esther Perel, and whurley Announced as 2018 SXSW Keynotes, Plus Featured Speakers appeared first on SXSW.


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