Jodie Foster, Katie Couric, Malcolm Gladwell Join SXSW 2019 Speaker Lineup

Local PJ Raval will deliver Film keynote address

Journalist and cancer awareness activist Katie Couric, one of the speakers added to the SXSW speaker lineup today (Photo courtesy of

One of Hollywood’s most subversive icons has just been added to the SXSW Conference with the addition of a masterclass by Jodie Foster. She is part of a roster announcement that also includes reporter Katie Couric and futurist Malcolm Gladwell, while Austin filmmaker PJ Raval will deliver this year’s Film keynote speech.

Raval had a breakthrough year with Call Me Ganda, a documentary investigating the death of of Filipina trans woman Jennifer Laude. With a U.S. Marine as the prime suspect, it has arguably been the highest profile work of his career, and now he returns to Austin for his SXSW appearance before the film receives its broadcast premiere this summer.

Although he will not have a feature at the festival, several of today’s announced speakers will, including Gladwell, who doubles down on the themes from his self-driving car doc Autonomy in a conversation with Aurora Innovation CEO Chris Urmson. Meanwhile, a trio of female filmmakers with movies at SXSW – including Austinite Chelsea Hernandez (Building the American Dream) – will discuss the female gaze in cinema. Plus, actress-turned-director Olivia Wilde will host a gathering of the cast and crew of her SXSW feature, Booksmart.

SXSW 2019 runs March 8-17. Now, here’s the list of today’s added speakers and sessions:


PJ Raval (Trinidad, Call Her Ganda)
• Spotify Chief Content Officer Dawn Ostroff, Gimlet President Matthew Lieber, and Anchor CEO Michael Mignano on the future business potential of audio against video



MasterClass with Jodie Foster and David Rogier
You’re Wrong, Leonard Maltin!! with Leonard Maltin and Jessie Maltin
Noah Hawley (Fargo, Legion) in conversation with Bryn Elise Sandberg


Booksmart Women featuring director Olivia Wilde, producer Jessica Elbaum, screenwriter Katie Silberman, and cast members Kaitlyn Dever, Beanie Feldstein and Billie Lourd. Moderated by Variety’s Jenelle Riley
The Female Gaze with author and Fandango correspondent Alicia Malone and filmmakers Chelsea Hernandez (Building the American Dream), Karen Maine (Yes, God, Yes), and Kestrin Pantera (Mother’s Little Helpers)


The Job: Work and Its Future in a Time of Radical Change with Ellen Shell
• Author Safi Bahcall (Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries)


CRISPR: Exploring the Line Between Human and Nature featuring Alito Charo, Rachel Haurwitz, Elliot Kirschner and Dan Rather
Making the Fight Against Cancer Even More Personal
• Journalist and Stand Up 2 Cancer co-founder Katie Couric


• President of NBC News Noah Oppenheim in conversation with Los Angeles Times reporter Stephen Battaglio and NBC News investigative journalists Carol Lee and Ken Dilanian


• Model and entrepreneur Ashley Graham
The War for Kindness: Building Empathy in a Fractured World with empathy researcher Jamil Zaki


Self-Driving Cars: The Future Is When? featuring Malcolm Gladwell, Chris Urmson (CEO of Aurora Innovation) and NBC News correspondent Jo Ling Kent

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SXSW 2019, SXSW Conference 2019, PJ Raval, Jodie Foster, Katie Couric, Malcolm Gladwell, Dawn Ostroff, Matt Lieber, Micahel Mignano, Billie Lourd, Ashley Graham, Beanie Feldstein, Noah Oppenheimer, Kaitlyn Dever

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