The Austin Chronicle

SXSW Schedules Supernatural Retrospective, Stephen Colbert, and More

By Richard Whittaker, January 13, 2020, 1:00pm, SXSW

Fire up the '67 Chevy Impala, 'cos the Winchester boys are coming to town. SXSW has just announced that Misha Collins, and Austin's own Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles will be part of a Supernatural retrospective panel at the festival this March.

The beloved cult TV show, which hits its 15th and final season this year, will look back at how the series has become a runaway success with one of the largest fanbases of any TV show around.

Late night TV also takes some prime slots on the schedule as the festival adds two The Daily Show alumni – The Late Show with Stephen Colbert host Stephen Colbert and Samantha Bee of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee – as speakers.

Elsewhere on the roster, the festival already announced a first wave of keynote speakers that included documentarian Erin Lee Carr and musicians Kim Gordon and Roger Waters. Now they've added Gabo Arora, Founding Director of the new Immersive Storytelling and Emerging Technology and a visionary in VR media who has used his grasp of immersive tech to bring the experiences of oppressed groups around the world to audiences for the United Nations.

He's joined on the keynote roster by Emerson Collective founder and president Laurene Powell Jobs, and Thomas Wesley Pentz aka super-producer Diplo.

On the tech side, expect contention and a lot of social media traffic when Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey speaks with Axios business editor Dan Primack. SXSW has long been acknowledged as responsible for much of the early success for the platform (it launched there in 2006 and exploded in 2007), and Dorsey returns when it is at its most contentious. Expect similarly loaded discussions when NSA Director of Cybersecurity Anne Neuberger meets with Wired editor-in-chief Nicholas Thompson.

The festival also has garnered a reputation for emphasizing a platform for women in the creative and tech space, and that's reflected in the powerhouse team appearing at the "Sparking Female Stories: Hulu’s Little Fires Everywhere" panel, with showrunner and executive producer Liz Tigelaar, directors Lynn Shelton (Laggies, Sword of Trust and Nzingha Stewart (Tall Girl), plus Masters of Sex's Michael Weaver, and executive producers Lauren Neustadter of Hello Sunshine and Pilar Savone of Simpson Street discussing the upcoming adaptation of Celeste Ng’s 2017 bestselling novel.

Plus, in a panel that absolutely hits the festival's sweet spot of technology and creativity, Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products Chairman Bob Chapek and a team of Disney Imagineers will discuss how their theme parks have stayed ahead of the game for decades, and continue to dazzle with their innovations.

Here’s a full rundown of today’s newly announced Keynotes and Featured Speakers from SXSW, in their own words:


SXSW 2020 Keynotes

• Award-winning immersive artist, professor and former UN diplomat Gabo Arora (Convergence)

• Grammy-winning musician, DJ, producer, and cultural figure Thomas Wesley Pentz, better known as Diplo (Music).

• Emerson Collective founder and president Laurene Powell Jobs (Convergence)

Featured Speakers

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee host, comedian, writer, producer, and actress Samantha Bee (Media & Journalism)

• Researcher and #1 New York Times bestselling author Dr. Brené Brown as part of the launch of her new weekly podcast, Unlocking Us, in conversation with activist and #metoo founder Tarana Burke, on the topic of empathy (Social & Global Impact)

• Veteran industry executive and River House Artists founder Lynn Oliver-Cline (Creating & Monetizing Music)

• Award-winning executive producer, writer and host of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, best-selling author, actor, producer and comedian Stephen Colbert (Film & TV Industry)

• Patreon co-founder, musician, and filmmaker Jack Conte (Future of Music)

• Co-founder and CEO of Twitter and Square Jack Dorsey in conversation with Axios business editor Dan Primack (Tech Industry & Enterprise)

• Investor and bestselling author Tim Ferriss in conversation with neuroscientist, philosopher, and bestselling author Sam Harris in a live version of The Tim Ferriss Show podcast, where they will discuss dangerous ideas, meditation, psychedelics, and more (Connection & Culture)

• Center for Humane Technology co-founder and design ethicist Tristan Harris (Design)

• Thirty Five Ventures co-founder and partner, and Kevin Durant’s manager Rich Kleiman in conversation with ESPN Host, former basketball player, and entrepreneur Jay Williams in a discussion about The Boardroom: the innovative content platform that showcases the new way athletes & executives engage off the court and at the intersection of sports, business, tech, entertainment and culture (Sports)

• Global adventurer, TV host, motivational speaker, and best-selling author Leon Logothetis (Connection & Culture)

• Founder of music management company Monotone, Inc. and co-founder of the media and production group LBI Entertainment Ian Montone (Creating & Monetizing Music)

• Researcher and #1 New York Times bestselling author, Dr. Brené Brown as part of the launch of her new weekly podcast, Unlocking Us, in conversation with Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness, on the topic of vulnerability (Connection & Culture)

• Professional speaker and storyteller Dan Nevins, Yoga instructor Gioconda Parker, and Wanderlust Yoga Austin founder Ashley Spence in conversation about Rising Voices, a training platform that provides healing and authentic connection through storytelling (Climate & Social Action)

• NSA Director of Cybersecurity Anne Neuberger with WIRED editor-in-chief Nicholas Thompson (Tech Industry & Enterprise)

• Mycologist and author Paul Stamets (Health & MedTech)

• Writer, journalist, editor and science fiction novelist Bruce Sterling (Fantastic Future)

• Chief Technology Officer Dr. Werner Vogels (Tech Industry & Enterprise)

• Reddit Chief Operating Officer Jen Wong (Advertising & Brand Experience)

Featured Sessions

• Less Trust, More Truth: The Web 3.0 Thesis (Tech Industry & Enterprise): A presentation on trust, truth and the new internet with Ethereum co-founder and CTO Dr. Gavin Wood with a Q&A by Austin Blockchain Collective Executive Director Pete Harris

• Sparking Female Stories: Hulu’s Little Fires Everywhere (Making Film & Episodics): Join the powerhouse production team behind Hulu’s upcoming adaptation of Celeste Ng’s 2017 bestseller, Little Fires Everywhere, for a conversation around the changing dynamics of the entertainment industry today. Showrunner and executive producer Liz Tigelaar, directors Lynn Shelton, Nzingha Stewart, Michael Weaver, and executive producers Lauren Neustadter of Hello Sunshine and Pilar Savone of Simpson Street will discuss the importance of using storytelling as a means of charting a new path forward for women and how they are working with stars Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington, who are leading the charge in female-driven productions, to transform gender and ethnic representation in film and television.

Supernatural: 15 Years of Fandom (Making Film & Episodics): From the series launch in 2005 on the former WB Network to the current 15th and final broadcast season on The CW, Supernatural is a case study in how a little “series-that-could” beat the odds to become the longest-running American sci-fi series in television history. Produced by Warner Bros. Television, series stars Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles and Misha Collins will join a panel of Supernatural experts, including Samantha Highfill from Entertainment Weekly and Alice Jester from The Winchester Family Business, to discuss how a series with more than 300 episodes continues to trend on social media, sell out magazine covers and merchandise, pack fan conventions around the world, and be a force for social good – all while trying to make a positive and lasting impact.

• Technology + Storytelling = Magic (Experiential Storytelling): Today’s technological revolution is changing the game when it comes to experiential storytelling, and Disney is staying ahead of the curve by leveraging emerging tech to revolutionize the Guest Experience. In this conversation, Bob Chapek, Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products, will be joined by Disney Imagineers to give attendees a behind-the-scenes look at some of the incredible innovations Disney uses to bring stories to life at destinations around the world.

Oops! When we first ran this story, we forgot that Jensen Ackles is an Austin resident too. We blame the Nephilim.

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