SXSW Adds Melinda Gates

Philanthropist joins keynote speaker list, plus more names

Melinda Gates
Melinda Gates (courtesy of the Gates Archive)

SXSW has already loaded up with heavy-hitter keynotes for 2018, and today sees another big name: Melinda Gates, often seen as the real philanthropic force behind the globe-spanning Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, will speak at this year's conference.

Announcing her addition, SXSW Chief Programming Officer Hugh Forrest said, "As one of the world's most successful philanthropists, Melinda Gates brings a focus on empowering women and girls to realize their full potential that is particularly relevant in 2018. Her participation in SXSW highlights the message that creative industry professionals have a duty to give back to the global community."

Aside from the new headliner, SXSW also added a long list of featured speakers appearing at the event (running March 9-18):

Making Film & Episodics

• Director Olivier Assayas (Demonlover, Personal Shopper) and Austin's own Oscar-winner director Richard Linklater

• Documentarians Joe Berlinger, Ryan White, and news anchor Tamron Hall


• Dell Technologies CEO and philanthropist Michael Dell and inaugural Dell Medical School Dean Clay Johnston

Music Culture & Stories

Elvis Presley: The Searcher Featured Session: Executive producer Priscilla Presley and director Thom Zimny sit down with music writer and producer David Porter and producer Jon Landau to discuss HBO's upcoming three-hour, two-film documentary on Presley. Sony Music senior vice president of A&R John Jackson moderates.

Social Impact

• Techfugees CEO Joséphine Goube

Film & TV Industry

• Filmmakers Kim Jackson and Alex Winter in conversation with journalist Logan Hill on the future of blockchain

Intelligent Future

• Futurist Ray Kurzweil

• Former US Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith

Startup & Tech Sectors

• Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe Herd

Entertainment Influencers

Westworld Featured Session with showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, plus cast members


• Editor and entrepreneur Rachel Zoe and Clique chief ideation officer Hillary Kerr

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