SXSW: 15 Must-See Films and Speakers at This Year's Fest

Jan Thijs/Freemantle Media
'American Gods'

Speakers include Gawker founder Nick Denton and the 'Game of Thrones' creators, while Terrence Malick's new movie 'Song to Song,' starring Ryan Gosling and Natalie Portman, is the opening film.

A year after hosting then-President Barack Obama, SXSW, which kicks off Friday in Austin, Texas, has a full slate of stars and talks by the likes of former Vice President Joe Biden, CNN's Van Jones and more.

AMERICAN GODS
Starz's series, based on Neil Gaiman's novel, debuts on March, and Justin Simien's Dear White People for Netflix premieres Monday. 

ATOMIC BLONDE
The Charlize Theron-starring action thriller has its world premiere on Sunday. The film, based on the graphic novel The Coldest City by Antony Johnston and helmed by director David Leitch, premieres in July.

BABY DRIVER
The Edgar Wright picture, starring Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Jamie Foxx and Ansel Elgort, will debut at the fest on Saturday, while high-wattage actors including Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal will be there March 18 for Daniel Espinosa's Life.

BOB ODENKIRK
The star of AMC's Better Caul Saul gives a talk about his career moderated by Fred Armisen on Sunday. 

BUZZ ALDRIN
The astronaut, who along with Neil Armstrong took the historic Apollo 11 moonwalk in 1969, speaks to Time magazine editor-at-large Jeffrey Kluger about his career and the importance of human space exploration on March 14.

DAVID BENIOFF AND D.B. WEISS
The Game of Thrones series creators will speak Sunday along with stars Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner.

JOE BIDEN
The former vice president continues his crusade against cancer in a Sunday talk about his post-office plans for a new Biden cancer initiative. His session is part of the daylong Connect to End Cancer series. 

CORY BOOKER
A growing number of government officials are heading to SXSW, including Senator Cory Booker, set to speak Friday. FBI general counsel James Baker is also speaking Monday.

JOHN CENA
The WWE superstar, known for his 16 world championship titles, will touch down in Austin on Monday to discuss his charitable causes, including the 500 wishes he's granted through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. 

LEE DANIELS
The Empire creator delivers a March 12 keynote, and Rogue One director Gareth Edwards headlines the film track on March 13.

MICK FLEETWOOD
The Fleetwood Mac drummer, who now runs the restaurant Fleetwood's on Front Street in Maui, will speak with David Fricke of Rolling Stone on March 15. 

NICK DENTON
The Gawker founder on Sunday will discuss First Amendment rights. Investor and Shark Tank star Chris Sacca will talk startups on Sunday.

NILE RODGERS
The music legend will deliver a March 15 keynote, joining 2,200-plus musicians who perform across the city, including impresario and March 16 keynote speaker Zane Lowe, who anchors Beats 1.

SONG TO SONG
Austin-based director Terrence Malick's new movie is the opening film on Friday. Set in the city's music scene, it stars Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara and Natalie Portman.

VEEP
The cast of the HBO political satire will take the stage Monday for a talk ahead of the show's sixth season.

March 7, 8:15 a.m. Updated to reflect that, after publication of this story, FBI Director James Comey canceled his SXSW appearance and was replaced by FBI general counsel James Baker. 

A version of this story first appeared in the March 17 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

comments powered by Disqus