Selena Gomez, Conan O’Brien, Sydney Sweeney Top SXSW’s Sixth Featured Speakers Announcement

Danny Brown, Nick Kroll, and Kirsten Dunst also announced

Conan O'Brien at SXSW in 2011 (Photo by John Anderson)

The stars have aligned for South by Southwest’s latest keynotes and featured speakers announcement – meaning a ton of celebrities, including Selena Gomez, Conan O’Brien, and Sydney Sweeney, have signed on to attend the festival.

Gomez will speak in a featured session called Mindfulness Over Perfection: Getting Real On Mental Health, which encourages transparency about the reality of mental illness. In addition to psychologist Dr. Jessica Stern and therapist Dr. Corey Yeager, the singer-actor, who’s long been open about her anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder diagnoses, will roundtable alongside New York Jets defensive tackle Solomon Thomas.

Joined by Nick Kroll, Conan previews his upcoming Max series Conan O'Brien Must Go, which finds the comedian traveling across the globe to meet fans he first spoke with on his podcast, Conan O’Brien Needs a Fan. Elsewhere, Euphoria, The White Lotus, and Anyone but You star Sweeney reflects on her career and discusses her production company, Fifty-Fifty Films.

Other notable sessions include a conversation between the cast and crew of Civil War, Alex Garland’s latest film, which premieres at SXSW Film. Garland, Dunst, Wagner Moura, and Cailee Spaeny will discuss the project, which depicts a war-ravaged future America through the eyes of the journalists attempting to cover the bloodshed. Meanwhile, Austinite Danny Brown will pop up Downtown for a discussion with comedian Ilana Glazer, Texas State Rep. James Talarico, and ACLU’s Nationwide Director of Artist & Entertainment Engagement Jessica Weitz entitled State of Being: How to Care in 2024, all about breaking through political ennui in the midst of a crucial, yet draining, election year.

Glazer will also chat with Samantha Bee, Pamela Adlon, and Michelle Buteau for a live taping of Bee’s podcast Choice Words. Glazer and Buteau star in Babes, Adlon’s directorial debut that premieres at the film festival.

Local scenesters should note of the Artist Creative Process – a panel featuring musicians Kam Franklin, Buffalo Nichols, and Jackie Venson, moderated by Texas Monthly writer, ACL Radio personality, and former Chronicle contributor Andy Langer – and Backstage With Austin City Limits (ACL): Five Decades of Music, a behind-the-scenes look at the beloved PBS music series.

There are even more big names within the latest speakers announcement, so keep scrolling for a complete list of stars headed to Austin next month.

Newly Announced Keynotes:

Privacy-in-Progress: Redefining the Boundaries of Being Online: For too long, we've accepted a world where tech companies go unchecked collecting, monitoring, and profiting from our personal information and activities. Then when that data is mishandled or used against us, we alone suffer the devastating consequences to our emotional well-being, financial security, or physical safety. While it can feel like this is just the price we pay to be online, as humans we deserve better, and as technologists we have the power to do better. In this Keynote Session, founder and CEO of Block Party and co-founder of Project Include Tracy Chou and Head of Product Design at Block Party Deonne Castaneda share where we are now and what more we can do to shape a privacy-forward, safer Internet together.

Death of the Follower & the Future of Creativity on the Web: The internet started as a platform that democratized creative distribution. You could upload your work to platforms like YouTube and immediately have it accessible to millions of people. After that came the "subscribe" button, which enabled creators to go beyond reach, build a following, and find their true fans that would support them to build a creative business. But with the rise of platform-focused algorithms (Facebook's ranking, TikTok's "for you" curation), creators cannot reach their following and true fans. This shift has had a devastating impact on creators' creativity and ability to support themselves doing what they love. In this Keynote Session, co-founder and CEO of Patreon Jack Conte will explain how the current internet algorithms are killing the traditional "follower" for creators, threatening their creative freedom and livelihoods; and advocate for the new spaces on the internet (like Patreon) where creators can always connect with their communities, create what they want, and control their own destinies.

Newly Announced Featured Speakers:

• Vice President of Product Management of Smart Glasses at Meta Li-Chen Miller

Newly Announced Featured Sessions:

The Artist Creative Process: It’s easy to appreciate a work of art solely based on the final product, but this is only the tip of the iceberg. Behind a finished song or album is a trail of blood, sweat, and tears that were sacrificed, all for the sake of creating something that tells a story or leaves a lasting impact. The journey to this creation is different for everyone, as every artist has their own creative process and journey in how they approach their art. In this session, join singer, songwriter, orator, model, actress, visual artist, entrepreneur, and activist Kam Franklin, blues musician Buffalo Nichols, singer, songwriter, and guitarist Jackie Venson, and moderator, emcee, television reporter, Writer-at-Large at Texas Monthly and Host of the National Podcast of Texas Andy Langer for a conversation about the artist creative process and how each artist approaches their process in creating music.

Backstage with Austin City Limits (ACL): Five Decades of Music: Take a look behind the scenes of the iconic PBS series that is now the longest-running music television program in history. As Austin City Limits begins celebrating its milestone 50th Anniversary in 2024, Associate Producer and Marketing Director Emily Bolf, Executive Producer Terry Lickona, Producer Jeff Peterson, and Chief Content Officer at Austin PBS Sara Robertson will reflect on their experiences curating, delivering, and preserving the best in authentic, original music to fans around the country and world. The panel will also discuss their vision for the future, including their thoughts on keeping art accessible and what the next fifty years of Austin City Limits could look like.

The Beautiful Exchange: Front Row with the Sing Sing Cast: In this session, Emmy Award-winning, Academy Award-nominated, Golden Globe Award-nominated, and two-time Tony Award-nominated actor, playwright, and producer Colman Domingo, actor Clarence "Divine Eye" Maclin, Academy Award-nominated actor Paul Raci, writer, director, performer, new works producer, Creative Executive of Edith Productions, and Artistic Director of the Magic Theatre in San Francisco Sean San José take us into the improbable alchemy of blending stage, screen, and unscripted moments into transcendent performances in their new film Sing Sing. Sing Sing will have its U.S. Premiere at the SXSW Film & TV Festival.

Behind The Billboard Charts: Billboard’s first national music chart launched over 80 years ago, and the Billboardrankings - including industry standards the Hot 100 and Billboard 200 - remain the definitive measurement of success in music, tracking the world’s most popular songs, albums, and artists. From The Beatles to Beyonce and everyone in between, Billboard has ranked the hits for decades across countless charts. In this session, hear from Managing Director of Charts & Data Operations at Billboard Keith Caulfield, senior music executive and founder of 10:22PM Celine Joshua, and Executive Vice President of Charts & Data Partnerships at Billboard Silvio Pietroluongo and find out how the Billboard Charts have been modernized and globalized to reflect the many means of music consumption in an ever-evolving borderless digital and social age.

Business, Life, and the Magic of Austin: A Conversation with Michael Dell: The entrepreneurial mindset - is it something you’re born with or something you can cultivate? After 40 years in business, Chairman and CEO of Dell Technologies Michael Dell will be sharing his thoughts on risk taking, having the courage of your conviction, reinvention, and the magic of Austin. A technology optimist at heart, this session with Michael and founder and CEO of Moor Insights & Strategy Patrick Moorhead will also discuss today’s hottest tech trends, including the opportunities we have with AI and how it will transform industries.

Conan O'Brien Must Go: Following his 28-year run as a host in late night, four-time Emmy Award-winning television host, comedian, writer, producer, and Host of the podcast Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend Conan O'Brien is returning to television! In this session, join Conan and three-time Emmy Award-nominated actor, voice actor, comedian, writer, and producer Nick Kroll as they talk about Conan’s new travel series CONAN O’BRIEN MUST GO. Fans in the room will witness never-before-seen footage of the four-episode series featuring O’Brien visiting new friends met through his podcast Conan O'Brien Needs a Fan, where he dives deep with listeners from across the country and the world.

A Conversation with CIVIL WAR Filmmaker Alex Garland and Cast: On the heels of CIVIL WAR's world premiere at the SXSW Film & TV Festival, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker and genre master Alex Garland (EX MACHINA, ANNIHILATION, 28 DAYS LATER) will participate in an in-depth conversation about the making of his latest adrenaline-fueled thrill ride that takes us through a near-future fractured America balanced on the razor's edge. Academy Award-nominated, four-time Golden Globe Award-nominated, and Emmy Award-nominated actor Kirsten Dunst, actor, director, and filmmaker Wagner Moura, and Golden Globe Award-nominated actor Cailee Spaeny will also be joining Alex to discuss the film.

A Conversation with Sydney Sweeney: Two-time Emmy Award-nominated actress, producer, and founder of Fifty-Fifty Films Sydney Sweeney has become one of the most sought-after talents of her generation, captivating global audiences with her many buzz-worthy, critically acclaimed, and iconic roles. In this session, Sweeney will reflect on her career thus far, which has included roles as the standout character ‘Cassie’ in EUPHORIA and the seemingly woke millennial ‘Olivia’ who dished out side-eye and microaggressions every chance she had in THE WHITE LOTUS. Sweeney will also discuss her most recent project ANYONE BUT YOU, future projects IMMACULATE, EDEN, and ECHO VALLEY, and the inception of Sweeney’s production company, Fifty-Fifty Films.

Good Humor: Lilly Singh on Her Entertainment-First Approach to Changing Culture: In this session, Emmy Award-winning entertainer, actress, writer and producer Lilly Singh will discuss how her company, Unicorn Island Productions, uses an entertainment-first approach to storytelling without compromising important social commentary that ignites impact. There is nothing funny about shame, but as the co-writer, producer and star of her debut film feature, DOIN' IT, Singh will share how she employs comedy to subvert cultural norms and expectations to change culture. Singh will also discuss her learnings from the independent filmmaking process on DOIN’ IT, which will have its World Premiere at this year’s SXSW Film & TV Festival.

The International Touring Boom for Artists: How does the live entertainment industry keep up with the perceived 'overnight' success of rising artists? Does skyrocketing on streaming platforms and social channels equate to selling out massive venues? In this session, Talent Manager at Baron Management Jon Lieberberg and Senior Vice President, Live Nation Latin Touring Hans Schafer will dive into these topics while discussing how the globalization of music turned into some of the most successful global tours for artists like RBD, Karol G, Peso Pluma, Kali Uchis, and others from all over the world. Where did the demand come from, how does touring fill the demand for these artists, what's next, and what is fueling this momentum?

KISS MY GRASS: Why Women of Color Deserve Better In Weed: This session will delve into the compelling narrative of Kiss My Grass, a gripping film executive produced by industry trailblazers Colin Kaepernick, Rosario Dawson, Mary Pryor, Luke Anderson, and Justin Benoliel. Through the lens of this documentary, you will embark on a journey that unveils the stark reality of persistent inequity within a rapidly expanding industry. Join founder and CEO of Josephine & Billie’s and Vice President of Supernova Women Whitney Beatty, actress, producer, activist, and founder of The Rio Dawn Foundation Rosario Dawson, founder of WeFancy and UrbanSocialista, co-founder of Cannaclusive, and Chief Marketing Officer for Tonic CBD and Tricolla Farms Mary Pryor, CEO of WISECO Hope Wiseman, and co-founder and Executive Director of Our Academy Hilary L. Yu as they explore the relentless battle against corruption and the daunting scarcity of support faced by Black women entrepreneurs. Their stories encapsulate the resilience and determination required to navigate a landscape fraught with obstacles. Prepare to be moved as you dive into the heart of their experiences, shedding light on the true cost of their relentless pursuit of success. Together, you will hear the behind the scenes real life narratives behind their storytelling in amplifying voices and sparking meaningful change.

Live from Space: NASA Astronauts & Your Work in Orbit: Orbiting 250 miles above your head is a state-of-the-art scientific lab, and it's got space for everyone. In this session, join International Space Station Program Chief Scientist at NASA Jennifer Buchli, Public Affairs Officer at NASA’s Johnson Space Center Leah Cheshier, Deputy Chief Scientist for NASA’s Human Research Program Dr. Kristin Fabre, and NASA Astronauts Jeanette Epps and Loral O’Hara and find out how you can get involved with the International Space Station to fly a scientific experiment, move your business forward, or find inspiration from the explorers living and working there. Plus, find out how to spot the station when it flies over your part of the globe! This session will feature a live Q&A with Jeanette and Loral while they’re in space.

Live Podcast Episode of Visitations with Elijah Wood & Daniel Noah (Previously Announced): Writer and Director of I Saw the TV Glow Jane Schoenbrun will join writer, director, and co-founder of SpectreVision Daniel Noah and actor, producer, and co-founder of SpectreVision Elijah Wood in this session. I Saw the TV Glow will have its Texas Premiere at the SXSW Film & TV Festival.

Mindfulness Over Perfection: Getting Real On Mental Health: It’s tempting to share only the highlight reel of our lives, but when we’re open about the difficult moments as well, we make it easier to tap into our emotions and create space for other people to process theirs, too. In this session, two-time Grammy Award-nominated artist and Golden Globe Award-nominated actor, producer, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and co-founder of Wondermind Selena Gomez, licensed clinical psychologist, consultant, speaker, media personality, founder and CEO of Three Lemons and clinical assistant professor at NYU Langone Health Dr. Jessica Stern, co-founder and CEO of Wondermind Mandy Teefey, NFL Defensive Lineman for the New York Jets and co-founder and Board Chair of The Defensive Line Solomon Thomas, and licensed marriage and family therapist and Psychotherapist for the Detroit Pistons Dr. Corey Yeager will explore the importance of bringing mental health conversations into the light - not just for decreasing stigma and building awareness, but as a way to deal in hard times. This conversation will cover the importance of flexibility over strict routines in mental healthcare, dealing with negative self-talk, and getting real about when you’re not feeling OK.

Moviegoing Lift: Loyalty, Subscription & MoviePass: Whether it be movie ticket subscription plans, discount Tuesdays, or cheaper concessions, movie theaters are constantly coming up with offers that get people to the cinema, and sometimes for more than just to see a film. How often do you now go to the theater to meet someone for a drink? Or did you just need to have that Taylor Swift commemorative bucket of popcorn? In this session, Executive Director of The Cinema Foundation Bryan Braunlich, award-winning entertainment correspondent at Business Insider Jason Guerrasio, Vice President of Marketing at Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas Chaya Rosenthal, and author, co-founder and CEO of MoviePass, and founder of Urbanworld Film Festival Stacy Spikes will explain how loyalty plans and outside-the-box ideas have changed the game when it comes to going to the movies.

Music Industry Remix: Equity for Next-Gen Creators: Motivated by racial justice movements – companies and professionals across the music and entertainment industry publicly committed to investing in marginalized communities to create equitable spaces for Next-Gen creators of color to succeed. While progress has been made, it's time to double down. In this session curated by the Save The Music Foundation, Social Impact Lead for Global Creator Partnerships at Meta Mayola Charles, Chief Brand Officer at Billboard Dana Droppo, Flyana Boss members Folayan and Bobbi LaNea, and entrepreneur, audio engineer, sound artist, music producer, songwriter, entertainer, and founder and CEO of Beyond Average Sound Raj Will will discuss trends and barriers for underrepresented youth and offer actionable solutions to advance equitable resources for young creators to thrive.

The Ringer’s ‘House of R’ Live Podcast: In this session, join New York Times bestselling author and cultural critic for The Ringer Joanna Robinson and Head of Editorial at The Ringer Mallory Rubin, your go-to podcast hosts for all things nerd culture and fandom, for a live show of their podcast House of R. The session will include games, discussions of your favorite films, TV, and books, as well as a live Q&A.

Samantha Bee's Choice Words Live with Ilana Glazer, Pamela Adlon, and Michelle Buteau: We all make on average 35,000 decisions a day--and on each episode of her podcast Choice Words, a production of Lemonada Media, Emmy Award-winning comedian, writer, producer, political commentator, actress, and television host Samantha Bee and her guests unpack big and small ones that have shaped their lives and careers. So make a good choice and join Sam for a live recording of Choice Words featuring Emmy Award-winning and Golden Globe Award-nominated actor, writer, producer, and director of NEON's BABES Pamela Adlon and BABES cast members, actress, comedian, creator, and writer Michelle Buteau and actor, writer, and producer of BABES Ilana Glazer. BABES will have its World Premiere at the SXSW Film & TV Festival and will be released by NEON in May.

State Of Being: How To Care in 2024 with Ilana Glazer, Danny Brown, Texas Rep. James Talarico, and the ACLU: Feeling overwhelmed, disappointed, or straight up bleak about the political landscape in this crucial election year? Join rapper and singer Danny Brown, comedian, actor, and advocate Ilana Glazer, Texas State Representative James Talarico, and ACLU’s Nationwide Director of Artist & Entertainment Engagement Jessica Weitz to discover why voting at the local, city, and state-level matters more than you think, with artists, activists, and elected officials who may, dare we say, give you a little hope.

Technology, Leadership, Geopolitics and the Future: Growing up, our teachers emphasized the need to learn math by saying we would not always have a calculator in our pocket. Today, not only do we all have calculators, but cameras, emails, travel apps, instantaneous news, dating apps, and other social networks right at our fingertips. Yet while we have engineered new ways to measure success or quantify our worth, whether by “like” counts or followers and interactions, few of us stop to consider the long term impacts of uploading and broadcasting our lives online. Today, as innovation accelerates and the psychological and social risks of technology become increasingly apparent, lawmakers are trying to keep up by implementing regulations that reflect transatlantic leadership and democratic use of technology. Given that technology knows no borders, several questions remain. In this session, join CEO and President of The 19th News Emily Ramshaw and Executive Vice President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Competition and 2024 SXSW Hall of Fame inductee Margrethe Vestager for a discussion on these questions, such as how will shifts in geopolitics drive regulation? How should governments incentivize companies to use AI for good? What impact will the demand for innovation have on the environment? And will we ever be able to explain to future generations what it means to live without technology?

Women at the Crossroads of Independent Music, Culture, and Entrepreneurship: In this session focused on the intersection of music, culture, and entrepreneurship, founder and CEO of Culture Creators Joi Brown, Content Director at ESSENCE Magazine Nandi Howard, DJ, producer, creative curator, and founder of The House of Milo DJ Rosegold, and rapper, singer, and songwriter Kodie Shane will explore how women are using their cultural backgrounds to shape unique paths in the music industry and beyond. This discussion will delve into the challenges and triumphs of maintaining cultural authenticity, the journey of becoming independent in a competitive industry, and how these experiences shape their entrepreneurial ventures.

Your First Million: Why You Don’t Have to be Born Into a Legacy of Wealth to Leave One Behind: In this session, join serial entrepreneur, philanthropist, and founder and CEO of Blackbird Collective Bridgid Coulter Cheadle and author and founder of Backstage Capital and Arlan Hamilton as they explore the power of wealth as a tool for options and change. Reflecting on her journey from poverty to leading a multi-million dollar VC firm, Hamilton will debunk wealth myths and emphasize entrepreneurship as a means to achieve financial empowerment. She'll reveal how anyone can leverage modern tools and funding to launch their million-dollar idea. Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, an established business owner, or someone looking to shift your financial mindset, this session promises to be a transformative experience. Walk away with actionable steps to not only chase but achieve your first million, irrespective of your starting point.

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