SXSW Announces New Keynotes and Featured Speakers for 2020

Article Contributed by South by Southwest | Published on Tuesday, November 12, 2019

South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Conference and Festivals (March 13–22, 2020) has announced additional Keynote and Featured Speakers for the 34th edition of its annual Conference, which celebrates the convergence of technology, film, and music industries. 

Keynotes announced today include songwriter, musician and founding member and the creative force behind Pink Floyd, Roger Waters, and director, producer and writer Erin Lee Carr.

Roger Waters composed Pink Floyd’s multi-platinum albums, including The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals and The Wall. He has toured extensively, and with The Wall became the most successful touring solo artist ever. Waters produced, co-directed and co-wrote Roger Waters: The Wall, an intensely personal road trip that deals with the loss that he has felt throughout his life due to war. In Amsterdam, June 2018, Waters filmed his US + THEM live show. US + THEM is a story of human rights, liberty and love. 

Erin Lee Carr’s projects include the USA gymnastics scandal documentary At the Heart of Gold, and SXSW Film Festival premiere I Love You: Now Die, on the Michelle Carter murder-by-texting trial, both made for HBO. Carr is also the author of the memoir All That You Leave Behind.

"Roger Waters is a true creative visionary, and we’re pleased to have him participate for 2020,” said Hugh Forrest, Chief Programming Officer. “SXSW continues to be a unique destination for innovation and discovery, and we're excited about the addition of the many groundbreaking pioneers, influential voices and business leaders that we've added to this year’s lineup.”


“We are thrilled to announce Erin Lee Carr as SXSW’s first Film Keynote for 2020 because we love her work and contributions to the documentary form,” said Janet Pierson, Director of Film. “With four feature documentaries, two of which we were privileged to world premiere, she’s established herself as an extraordinary filmmaker, able to create compelling cinematic work out of provocative subjects that don’t easily lend themselves to film.”

The SXSW Conference is organized into 22 programming tracks, covering Interactive, Film, Music, and Convergence topics and presented in a variety of session formats.

Newly-announced SXSW 2020 Keynotes include:

Director, producer and writer Erin Lee Carr (Film)

Musician, singer, and songwriter Roger Waters (Music)

Newly-announced Featured Speakers include:

Composer (Us, Get Out) Michael Abels in conversation with Politifact creator and professor Bill Adair (Making Film & Episodics)

Beat Games s.r.o co-founder and Head of Music Jaroslav Beck (Future of Music)

Amazon Web Services Vice President of Public Sector Partners and Programs Sandy Carter (Tech Industry & Enterprise)

Future of Sex founder and podcast host Bryony Cole (Connection & Culture)

Founder, Co-Chief Investment Officer and Co-Chairman of Bridgewater Associates Ray Dalio (Tech Industry & Enterprise)

Fashion designer and founder Tommy Hilfiger in conversation with Tommy Hilfiger Global CEO Daniel Grieder (Connection & Culture)

Multi-Grammy Award winning musician, producer, entrepreneur and philanthropist Ben Lovett (Future of Music)

Bassist, composer and YouTuber Adam Neely (Future of Music)

Canva CEO and co-founder Melanie Perkins (Design)

Google Stadia Games and Entertainment VP Jade Raymond in conversation with journalist Chris Morris (Game Industry)

Mojang Studios Chief Brand Officer Lydia Winters (Game Industry)

Newly-announced Featured Sessions Include:

Big Brother Is Racist (Government & Politics): Surveillance vs. Persons of Color: a discussion about how surveillance and surveillance technologies, historically and currently, have been disproportionately deployed against persons of color, as well as the harmful impacts of such deployments, with Senior Advocacy and Policy Counsel at the ACLU Chad Marlow; Director of Georgetown Law’s Communications & Technology Law Clinic, and Associate Director of the Center on Privacy & Technology Laura Moy; Co-Director of MediaJustice Steven Renderos, and sociopolitical comedian, author and host W. Kamau Bell.

The Bon Appétit Test Kitchen (Connection & Culture): A behind-the-scenes conversation with Bon Appétit Test Kitchen chefs Brad Leone, Claire Saffitz, Andy Baraghani, Molly Baz, Chris Morocco, Carla Lalli Music and Alex Delany appearing on stage together for the first time outside of New York.

Featured Session: Courtney Kemp, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson & Jeffrey Hirsch (Film & TV Industry): Join executive producers Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and creator Courtney Kemp from Starz’s Original Series Power, as they sit with president and CEO of Starz, Jeffrey Hirsch, for a look inside the wildly popular drama series as well as upcoming expansions to the Power cinematic universe including the upcoming spinoff, Power Book II: Ghost starring Mary J. Blige.

Escaping Doom: Transforming Science into Experience (Design): a conversation about how scientific research can be integrated into an engaging, entertaining and educational storytelling experience, with Gensler principal David Kramer; University of Texas Assistant Dean, School of Design and Creative Technologies Doreen Lorenzo; Associate Professor in the Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Texas Fernanda Leite; and general manager of Unreal Engine at Epic Games Marc Petit.

The Future of Influence is #accountable (Advertising & Brand Experience): a conversation about the spread of misinformation on social platforms and the responsibility of influencers, featuring actress and activist Sophia Bush and Seed Health co-founder and co-CEO Ara Katz.

How to be Political in an Apolitical World (Future of Music): A conversation about political activism in the music industry and the role artists can play in driving change, featuring Run the Jewels manager Amaechi Uzoigwe, #iVoted founder Emily White, Middle West Management and 46 for 46 founder Kyle Frenette, and artist and activist Madame Gandhi.

Immersive Entertainment and the Future of Games (Game Industry) with technology pioneer, entrepreneur and scientist Nolan Bushnell, founder of Collabsco Valerie Vacante, and X2 Games president, co-founder & Chief Creative Officer Zai Ortiz.

Latino Film Institute: Pipeline, Platform & Launch (Film & TV Industry): A conversation about the ideas and programs that LFI have placed into action to address the lack of representation in Hollywood and focus on the next generation of content creators, featuring Director of Research and Civic Engagement for the Division of Social Sciences at UCLA Dr. Ana-Christina Ramón; actor producer and humanitarian Edward James Olmos; Founder & Co-Program Manager of LatinX in Animation Magdiela Hermida Duhamel; and writer and Latino Film Institute executive director Rafael Agustin.

Nat Geo Storytellers: Exploration Unleashed (Film & TV Industry): A conversation about modern day exploration with National Geographic Explorer, award-winning scientist, technologist and adventurer Albert Lin, and award-winning correspondent, investigative journalist and National Geographic Explorer Mariana van Zeller.

The Women Who Run the Shows (Film & TV Industry): A discussion about the experiences of female showrunners, their unique backstories and influences, including their early days in the industry to calling the shots, and their roles in comedy and on set, with multi-talented stand-up comedian, writer, and actress Phoebe Robinson; Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens showrunner Karey Dornetto; and Executive Producer and Showrunner of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Jen Flanz.

SXSW dedicates itself to helping creative people achieve their goals. Founded in 1987 in Austin, Texas, SXSW is best known for its conference and festivals that celebrate the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries. An essential destination for global professionals, the event features sessions, showcases, screenings, exhibitions, and a variety of networking opportunities. SXSW proves that the most unexpected discoveries happen when diverse topics and people come together. SXSW 2020 will take place March 13 - 22, 2020. For more information, please visit To register for the event, please visit