Moonlight Director Returns to SXSW

Oscar-winner Barry Jenkins part of first speaker list for 2018

South by Southwest by Moonlight: Director Barry Jenkins will keynote SXSW Film 2018. (Image courtesy of A24)

In 2008, a little-known filmmaker named Barry Jenkins premiered his first film, Medicine for Melancholy, at SXSW. A decade later, and with an Oscar for Moonlight on his shelf, he returns as the first announced keynote speaker for SXSW 2018.

Barry Jenkins (photo courtesy of Barry Jenkins)

Celebrating the filmmaker's return to the festival after 10 years (and you can read our 2008 interview with Jenkins about his debut here), SXSW Director of Film Janet Pierson said, “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 (who is currently developing If Beale Street Could Talk and The Underground Railroad) headlines the film component of next year's conference. Taking on the same role for Interactive will be psychotherapist Esther Perel, TED talk star and author of global bestseller Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence, while William Hurley, aka Chaotic Moon studio founder and crowdfunding pioneer whurley, will deliver the keynote for the Convergence track.

Alongside that first round of keynotes (expect the Music track announcement much nearer the festival), SXSW has also added its initial wave of featured speakers:

• Futurist and space entrepreneur Bob Richards, co-founder of multiple companies hoping to privatize space travel, including Moon Express Inc. (Intelligent Future track)

• Kaiser Permanente CEO and Chairman Bernard J. Tyson (Health & Wellness track)

• Empowering a Billion Women by 2020 Chair and CEO Ingrid Vanderveldt (Startup & Tech Sectors track)

• Artist and poet Cleo Wade (Social Impact track)

• Future Today Institute founder Amy Webb (Startup & Tech Sectors track)

SXSW Chief Programming Officer Hugh Forrest said the list "represents a diverse and talented group of pioneers in the technology, social sciences, health care, and entertainment industries. 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.”

SXSW 2018 runs Friday, March 9 to Sunday, March 18, 2018. For badges and info, visit

Just a reminder of a few other important dates coming up:

Aug. 7-25: Community voting at the SXSW PanelPicker

Oct. 20: Final date for Film Festival submissions for features, shorts, episodics, music video, and virtual cinema. Also final date for artist direct applications of the Music Festival.

Dec. 15: Final date for Film Festival submissions for Texas High School shorts and title sequences.

Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

Wes Anderson Brings <i>Isle of Dogs</i> to SXSW
SXSW Goes to the Dogs
Plus Midnighters bring the gore, and Alita party

Richard Whittaker, Feb. 7, 2018

SXSW Unleashes Massive Film List
SXSW Unleashes Massive Film List
High-concept horror A Quiet Place to open fest

Richard Whittaker, Jan. 31, 2018

More by Richard Whittaker
ATX Film News
ATX Film News
Our monthly guide to what's filming and screening

Feb. 16, 2018

Black Panther
High drama and high action as Marvel gives Wakanda life.

Feb. 16, 2018


SXSW, SXSW Film 2018, SXSW Interactive 2018

AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle