Janicza Bravo to Direct FX Pilot “Kindred,” Based on Octavia E. Butler’s Influential Novel

Janicza Bravo has found her kindred spirit…

The 39-year-old Latina writer/director and Zola helmer has been tapped to direct and executive produce FX pilot Kindred, an adaptation of Octavia E. Butler’s influential novel.

Janicza Bravo

Newcomer Mallori Johnson set to star.

The project hails from writer Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Courtney Lee-Mitchell, Darren Aronofsky and his Protozoa Pictures, Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields. FX Productions is the studio. Production is scheduled to begin in September.

Johnson will play the central character Dana, a young Black woman and aspiring writer who has uprooted her life of familial obligation and relocated to Los Angeles, ready to claim a future that, for once, feels all her own. But, before she can get settled into her new home, she finds herself being violently pulled back and forth in time to a nineteenth-century plantation with which she and her family are most surprisingly and intimately linked. An interracial romance threads through her past and present, and the clock is ticking as she struggles to confront the secrets she never knew ran through her blood, in this genre-breaking exploration of the ties that bind.

The novel, which sold over a million copies, has been hailed as a visionary work of science fiction since it was first published more than four decades ago in 1979.

“I first read Kindred 20 years ago,” said Bravo. “I was in college. I hadn’t ever seen myself in a world like that. And certainly not at its center. What might seem like only a portrait of an invisible woman is also a potent embrace of our relationship to history and how it can bring us closer to our future. After what felt like losing over a year of the life I had come to know so well, an opportunity to direct an adaptation of this specific text was a win. On top of that getting to partner with Branden is something I’d been wanting for quite some time.”

Jacobs-Jenkins wrote the pilot.

Most recently, Bravo directed and co-wrote the critically acclaimed film Zola. A24 released the film in theatres on June 30. Starring Taylour Paige, Riley Keough, Nicholas Braun and Colman DomingoZola premiered in competition at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and is being released in the UK on August 6.

Bravo’s previous film work has screened at AFI, Carnegie Hall, SXSW, Sundance, and Tribeca. Her feature film debut Lemon premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. On the television side, she directed the “Juneteenth” episode of Atlanta, the “Houston” episode of Mrs. America, as well as episodes of HBO’s Divorce, Here and Now, In Treatment, Netflix’s Love and Dear White People and Amazon’s Forever.

John Ortiz to Star in Sci-Fi Adventure Feature “The Mothership”

John Ortiz is boarding the mothership…

The 53-year-old Puerto Rican actor will star opposite Omari Hardwick and Molly Parker in The Mothership, a sci-fi adventure feature from MRC Film, Automatik and Netflix. Halle Berry previously was announced to star in and executive produce the film.

John Ortiz

Oscar-nominated Bridge of Spies screenwriter Matt Charman is directing the film, which will mark his feature debut.

Charman also penned the screenplay, which follows Sara Morse (Berry) one year after her husband mysteriously vanished from their rural farm. When she discovers a strange, extraterrestrial object underneath their home, Sara and her kids embark on a race to find their husband, father and, most important, the truth.

Ortiz’s recent credits include Horse Girl, SXSW drama The Fallout and the Netflix series Messiah.

Lissette Feliciano Signs with Verve

Lissette Feliciano has new representation…

The 31-year-old Latina  writer, director and actress has signed with Verve following the success of her SXSW debut feature, Women Is Losers, which she wrote, directed, and produced.

Lissette Feliciano

Set during the 1960s in San Francisco, Women Is Losers follows bright and talented Catholic school girl Celina Guerrera (Lorenza Izzo), who survives a difficult home life by following the rules. That is until an indiscretion creates a series of devastating consequences. As Celina faces the compounded obstacles of being young and alone, she sets out to rise above the oppression of poverty and invest in a future that sets new precedents for the time.

The film is inspired by real women and the Janis Joplin song of the same title.

Simu Liu, Chrissie Fit and Liza Weil (How to Get also star.

A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Feliciano is a Tribeca Film Institute AT&T Untold Stories grant recipient, and was named as one of Shoot Magazine’s new directors to watch.

Her production company, Look at the Moon Pictures, develops original content that shines a lens on underrepresented groups, joining the ranks of creators filling the market gap in storytelling for a new young, multicultural audience.

Under Feliciano’s leadership, Look at the Moon was among the first production companies to mandate 50 percent BIPOC representation across leadership positions on and off-camera.

Feliciano joins Verve’s growing roster of Latin filmmakers including Gigi Saul Guerrero, Peter Murrieta, Cristina Gallego, David Blue Garcia, Aitch Alberto, Marvin Lemus and Aurora Guerrero.

Natalie Morales to Star in & Produce CBS’ Comedy Pilot Based on Sarah Cooper Book

Natalie Morales is preparing for a successful next endeavor…

The 36-year-old Cuban American actress has been cast as one of the leads in CBS’ comedy pilot based on TikTok star Sarah Cooper’s book How to Be Successful Without Hurting Men’s Feelings.

Natalie Morales

Morales will star opposite Amy Landecker and Alice Lee in the pilot.

She’ll also serves as a producer on the pilot, from Cooper, Cindy Chupack, Nina Tassler and Denise Di Novi.

Co-written by Cooper and Chupack and directed by Amy York Rubin, the Untitled Sarah Cooper/Cindy Chupack Project revolves around three women at different stages in their careers at a male-dominated company — played by Morales, Landecker and Lee — who help each other navigate modern gender politics in their professional and personal lives.

Morales will play Joanna, a conflict-averse, people-pleasing middle manager at the small tech company Lucent Muse, whose new hire, Elyse (Lee), challenges her “go along to get along” career philosophy. She lives with her boyfriend of two years, a sweet, loyal guy who might be too sweet and loyal for her.

Morales’ acting credits include The Little Things and Dead to Me. She made her feature directing debut with this year’s Language Lessons, which premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival and won the Audience Award at SXSW. She is an executive producer and director on Plan B, a feature comedy on Hulu that’ll be released in spring 2021; and she’s writing and producing an untitled comedy feature set in Miami from Universal.

Demi Lovato Releases Deluxe Edition of New Album “Dancing With the Devil… The Art of Starting Over”

Demi Lovato is livin’ the de(luxe) life…

The 28-year-old half-Mexican American singer/actress has unveiled the deluxe edition of her seventh album Dancing With the Devil… The Art of Starting Over.

Demi Lovato

The deluxe LP includes four additional tracks, one bonus track titled “Sunset,” and three live acoustic versions of the first three “prelude” songs of the album, “Anyone,” “Dancing With the Devil” and “ICU (Madison’s Lullabye).”

The live acoustic songs were recorded during the drive-in premiere of her four-part YouTube Originals docuseries Demi Lovato: Dancing With the Devil, where she also premiered “Dancing With the Devil” and “ICU.”

“Sunset,” a gospel-tinged love ballad, was revealed to be a part of the album during the SXSW premiere of the doc, as well as another track titled “Say a Prayer” that’s not included in the deluxe version.

The pop superstar released Dancing With the Devil on April 2 with 19 tracks, including collaborations with Sam FischerAriana Grande, Saweetie and Noah Cyrus. The expanded edition digital bonus tracks of her seventh LP include her previously released top 20 hit “I Love Me,” “I’m Ready” featuring Sam Smith, and “OK Not to Be OK” with Marshmello.

Natalie Morales Wins SXSW Film Festival Audience Award for feature directorial debut “Language Lessons”

Natalie Morales is the audience’s choice…

SXSW Film Festival organizers have revealed this year’s Audience Award winners, with the 36-year-old Cuban American actress among the list of honorees for her feature directorial debut.

Natalie Morales

Morales’ Language Lessons, which she co-wrote, stars in and directed, was named the Audience Award winner in the Narrative Spotlight category.

The film, which also stars Mark Duplass and Desean Terry, centers on a Spanish teacher awho develops an unexpected friendship with her student.

Latina filmmakers Maria Belen Poncio and Rosario Perazolo Masjoan won the Audience Award in the Episodic Pilot competition for 4 Feet High.

Over the course of five days of SXSW Online, the SXSW Film Festival screened 75 features including 57 world premieres, three international premieres, four North American Premieres, one U.S. premiere and 53 films from first-time filmmakers, plus 84 short films.

Here’s the full list of SXSW Film Festival Audience Award winners:

HEADLINERS
Audience Award Winner:
 Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free
Director: Mary Wharton

NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION
Audience Award Winner: 
The Fallout
Director: Megan Park

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION
Audience Award Winner: 
Not Going Quietly
Director: Nicholas Bruckman

NARRATIVE SPOTLIGHT
Audience Award Winner: 
Language Lessons
Director: Natalie Morales

DOCUMENTARY SPOTLIGHT
Audience Award Winner: 
Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America
Directors: Emily Kunstler, Sarah Kunstler

VISIONS
Audience Award Winner: 
Inbetween Girl
Director: Mei Makino

MIDNIGHTERS
Audience Award Winner: 
Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror
Director: Kier-La Janisse

GLOBAL
Audience Award Winner: 
Ninjababy
Director: Yngvild Sve Flikke

24 BEATS PER SECOND
Audience Award Winner:
 Soy Cubana
Directors: Jeremy Ungar, Ivaylo Getov

FESTIVAL FAVORITES

Audience Award Winner: In The Same Breath
Director: Nanfu Wang

2020 SPOTLIGHT

Audience Award Winner: We Are The Thousand
Director: Anita Rivaroli

Shorts

NARRATIVE SHORTS COMPETITION
Audience Award Winner: 
Play It Safe
Director: Mitch Kalisa

DOCUMENTARY SHORTS COMPETITION
Audience Award Winner: 
Joe Buffalo
Director: Amar Chebib

ANIMATED SHORTS COMPETITION
Audience Award Winner: 
Opera
Director: Erick Oh

MIDNIGHT SHORTS COMPETITION
Audience Award Winner: 
Stuffed
Director: Theo Rhys

TEXAS SHORTS COMPETITION

Audience Award Winner: Learning Tagalog with Kayla
Director: Kayla Abuda Galang

TEXAS HIGH SCHOOL SHORTS COMPETITION
Audience Award Winner: 
Beyond the Model
Director: Jessica Lin

MUSIC VIDEO COMPETITION
Audience Award Winner: 
Kuricorder Quartet – ‘Southpaw’
Director: Sawako Kabuki

Episodic Program

EPISODIC PREMIERES
Audience Award Winner: 
Them
Showrunner: Little Marvin

EPISODIC PILOT COMPETITION
Audience Award Winner: 
4 Feet High
Directors: Maria Belen Poncio, Rosario Perazolo Masjoan

Virtual Cinema

VIRTUAL CINEMA COMPETITION
Audience Award Winner:
 Biolum
Director: Abel Kohen

VIRTUAL CINEMA SPOTLIGHT
Audience Award Winner:
 Finding Pandora X
Director: Kiira Benzing

SXSW Film Design Awards

EXCELLENCE IN TITLE DESIGN
Audience Award Winner: 
Birds Of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn Title Sequence
Creative Director and Illustrator: Michael Riley

Trailer Released for Jenna Ortega’s SXSW-Bound High School Drama “The Fallout”

Jenna Ortega is experiencing a fallout

The first trailer has been release for writer-director Megan Park’s SXSW drama The Fallout, which stars the 18-year-old Puerto Rican and Mexican American actress as a student seeking out emotional healing following a school tragedy.

Jenna Ortega, The Fallout

The Fallout is a film about the unseen faces of a tragedy, those who can’t turn their pain into effecting positive change in the world because they are too afraid to leave their bedrooms. Three teenagers form a unique and dynamic bond as they navigate the never linear, often confusing journey to heal in a world that feels forever changed.

In the film Ortega, Maddie Ziegler and Niles Fitch forge a close friendship that helps them cope with tragedy. From romantic moments to wine-downs in a hot tub, the teenagers find comfort and strength to face the world in each other.

The Fallout, which is in the SXSW Narrative Competition, also features Shailene Woodley, Julie Bowen, Will Ropp, Lumi Pollack and John Ortiz. Billie Eilish collaborator Finneas composed the music.

The 28th edition of the SXSW Film Festival will take place online March 16-20. Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil will kick off the annual fest and Charli XCX’s quarantine documentary Alone Together will serve as the film fest closer.

Check out the full lineup here.

Demi Lovato Releases Teaser for Her YouTube Originals Docuseries “Dancing With the Devil”

Demi Lovato opens up about her near fatal overdose…

The 28-year-old half-Mexican American singer/actress has premiered the trailer to her upcoming docuseries, Dancing With the Devil.

Demi Lovato

The nearly three-minute clip from the YouTube Originals series, which explores her near fatal overdose in July 2018, features the star honestly discussing substance abuse, with Lovato at one point admitting, “I don’t know why I’m sober anymore.”

Elton John and Christina Aguilera also appear to discuss the difficulties of fame at a young age and her recovery, while the “Commander in Chief” singer’s family and friends explain how good she is at hiding her struggles. The interviews with her nearest and dearest are interspersed with a smiling and seemingly happy Lovato, before cutting to images of her partying one month before her OD.

“I snapped,” Lovato says in the trailer, which offers a first listen of her original song also titled “Dancing with the Devil.” After her family and friends recount their fears for her life as she fought to stay alive in the hospital, Lovato explains that she had three strokes and a heart attack. But now, she’s ready to take control of her future.

“I’ve had a lot of lives — like my cat, you know? I’m on my ninth life,” she says. “I’m ready to get back to doing what I love, which is making music.”

After premiering the teaser, Lovato discussed the documentary and the lingering effects of her overdose with reporters, including how the strokes and heart attack impacted her. “I was left with brain damage and I still deal with the effects of that today,” she shared. “I don’t drive a car because of blind spots in my vision. … I had a lot of trouble reading.”

Though Lovato says she’s still dealing with the repercussions, she’s grateful for them and wouldn’t change a thing. “They’re still there to remind me what could happen if I ever get into a dark place again. I’m grateful for those reminders,” she said. “It was a painful journey, and I look back and sometimes — I get sad when I think about the pain I had to endure, but I don’t regret anything. I’m so proud of the person I am today.”

The singer also shared that the reason she wanted to be as honest and open as she is in Dancing With the Devil is she wanted to set the record straight and clear up any rumors. “I wanted to reveal it all for my fans and say this is who I am and this is where I am today,” she said. “If it helps you, then I hope that it can. That was ultimately my purpose in putting this out.”

While the teaser focuses on the near-fatal overdose, Lovato told reporters that there’s more to the four-part series. “It’s not just about my journey. I touch on so many topics in this documentary that’s not just about substances … past traumas that I’ve dealt with but have never spoken about,” she said. “Waking up in 2018, I realized there is still so much work I have to do on myself. … It’s about self-acceptance, it’s about not conforming to what other people think you should conform to. You are who you are.”

Dancing With the Devil is set to open the SXSW film festival, which is happening March 16-20. The four-part docuseries premieres on YouTube March 23.

The Kid Mero to Speak at This Year’s SXSW Film Festival Online Edition

The Kid Mero is heading south (by southwest)

SXSW Film Festival organizers have unveiled their latest list of featured speakers, with the 37-year-old Dominican-American writer, comedian and television personality and his sidekick, Desus Nice, part of the lineup.

The Kid Mero

This year’s online edition of SXSW kicks off on March 16 and continues through March 20.

The Kid Mero and Desus Nice, who currently have a late-night series on Showtime, will take part in a conversation about various topics, including their New York Times best seller God-Level Knowledge Darts: Life Lessons from the Bronx, their long-running Bodega Boys podcastand more.

Meanwhile, Demi Lovato will be taking part in a panel entitled “Beyond the Gender Binary.” The 28-year-old half-Mexican American singer/actress will speak about the status of trans rights in the United States and the power of creative self-expression in the face of gender norms.

In addition to The Kid Mero, whose real name is Joel Martinez, and Desus Nice, and Lovato, the new round of featured speakers includes Elizabeth Banks, Mayim Bialik, Mary J. Blige, James Cameron, Bill Hader, Noah Hawley, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Amber Ruffin, The Russo Brothers, Jennifer Salke, Cliff “Method Man” Smith among others.

Meanwhile, SXSW will feature Nobel Peace Prize-nominated political leader Stacey Abrams in a Keynote conversation with author N.K. Jemisin.

“We’re truly excited about the remarkable range of creative talent and innovators that we’ve announced today as part of SXSW Online,” said Hugh Forrest, Chief Programming Officer. “In the 30 plus years of SXSW, we’ve showcased so many incredible voices who have shown tremendous courage and leadership, which is why we’re excited to add Nobel Peace Prize nominee Stacey Abrams as a Keynote for 2021. Moreover, her conversation with science fiction writer N.K. Jemisin taps into the kind of creative energy that only happens at SXSW.”

The SXSW Conference explores what’s next across entertainment, culture and technology, presented in a variety of formats. SXSW Online programming sessions are organized by themes: A New UrgencyChallenging Tech’s Path ForwardCultural Resilience in the ArtsThe Rebirth Of Business, Transforming the Entertainment LandscapeConnection in Disconnection and An Uncharted Future.

Newly-announced SXSW 2020 Keynotes include:

  • Entrepreneur, political leader, and New York Times bestselling author of Our Time is Now and Lead from the Outside Stacey Abrams in conversation with Hugo award-winning writer and author of the New York Times bestselling book The City We Became K. Jemisin.

Newly-announced Featured Speakers include:

  • Entrepreneur, angel investor, chess master, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Choose Yourself, James Altucher in conversation with Square co-founder Jim McKelvey
  • Creative director, author, costume designer, celebrity stylist, #Rockmom and social media maven June Ambrose in conversation with Emmy-nominated creative director and choreographer Laurieann Gibson
  • CEO & President of Favor and H-E-B Chief Digital Officer Jag Bath in conversation with Inc editor-at-large Tom Foster
  • Oregon Congressman (OR-03), founder of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus and champion of cannabis legalization in Congress Earl Blumenauer with POLITICO federal cannabis policy reporter Natalie Fertig
  • Entrepreneur and Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson, wrongfully convicted death row exoneree Sabrina Butler-Smith, and founder and CEO of the Responsible Business Initiative for Justice Celia Ouellette
  • Director, producer, and writer named by Forbes as one of the “30 Under 30” most influential people in media in 2019, Erin Lee Carr
  • Kansas City Chiefs right guard, medical student and doctorate in medicine graduate Laurent Duvernay-Tardif in conversation with multi-Emmy Award winning journalist Andrea Kremer
  • Artist and painter working across multiple mediums to explore the continuity between ecology, infrastructure, and architecture, Torkwase Dyson
  • Psychotherapist, writer of The Atlantic’s weekly “Dear Therapist” advice column, co-host of the popular podcast, “Dear Therapists,” and author of the New York Times bestseller Maybe You Should Talk To SomeoneLori Gottlieb in conversation with New York Times bestselling author, host of PBS show Tell Me More, and host of Kelly Corrigan WondersKelly Corrigan
  • Two-time Grammy nominated choreographer, director and performance artist Ryan Heffington in conversation with Vulture writer Rachel Handler
  • Co-founder and CEO of Twilio Jeff Lawson
  • Chairman and CEO of Sinovation Ventures, and president of Sinovation Ventures Artificial Intelligence Institute Kai-Fu Lee
  • Executive Director of Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation Cat Packer in conversation with writer and reporter Amanda Chicago Lewis
  • Chairman and CEO of Sony Music Publishing, home to the world’s greatest songwriters, Jon Platt in conversation with Grammy Award®-winning singer, songwriter, bestselling author and environmentalist, Carole King.
  • Head of Amazon Studios, where she oversees all aspects of television and film development as well as production for Amazon’s global entertainment division, Jennifer Salke

Newly-announced Featured Sessions include:

  • 3D Printing is Launching Aerospace to the Future: A conversation about automating aerospace manufacturing and how rockets will be built and flown with co-founder and CEO of Relativity Space Tim Ellis and Astroathens CEO Athena Brensberger.
  • Alexi Pappas & Bill Hader on Being a Bravey: A conversation with Olympian, actress, and author of the bestselling book Bravey, Alexi Pappas, in conversation with Emmy award-winning actor, filmmaker and creator/star of Barry, Bill Hader. Pappas and Hader will discuss their evolving relationship with mental health in their creative, professional, and personal lives, and on the lessons they’ve learned from mentors along the way.
  • Amplifying Athlete Voices Off the Court: Athletes have been using their platform and voices for decades to bring light to social issues on and off the field of play, but 2020 brought upon new urgency when COVID-19 and the killings of Black citizens like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor coincided in the span of a few months. Bleacher Report and Turner Sports will bring together a panel of stakeholders including, Turner analysts Candace ParkerChris Webber, Senior Vice President of NBA Digital Content Operations and Diversified Sports Content, Eric Jackson, and moderated by Turner Sports social media producer Morgann Mitchell, and will dive into how these brands are concentrated on raising athletes’ voices on social issues to new heights and the importance of highlighting athlete activism.
  • Are We the Smartest Kids on the Block?: A conversation with Harvard University Professor of Science Avi Loeb, and New Scientist reporter Leah Crane about the search for extraterrestrial life, one of the most exciting frontiers in astronomy. With the recent discoveries on the cloud deck of Venus and studies of the weird interstellar object `Oumuamua, find out how the search for unusual electromagnetic flashes, industrial pollution of planetary atmospheres, artificial light or heat, artificial space debris or something completely unexpected holds the promise of advancing and maturing both science and society.
  • Beyond the Gender Binary: With increasing recognition of the fluidity of gender, the time has come for a 21st century approach to gender justice. Dividing billions of people into one of two categories “man or woman” is not natural, it is political. Gender diversity is an integral part of our existence. It always has been, and it always will be. The gender binary – the idea that there are only two separate and opposite genders – was built to create conflict and division, not foster creativity and humanity. In this conversation ALOK and Demi Lovato will speak about the status of trans rights in the United States and the power of creative self-expression in the face of gender norms.
  • Beyond the Tank: Investing in the Heart of Texas: Joining designer and entrepreneur Kendra Scott and entrepreneur, author, Shark Tank star and owner of the Dallas Mavericks Mark Cuban discuss the importance of entrepreneurship to the state of Texas, their own passions for supporting entrepreneurship, what they each look for in an investment, and advice for the audience in how to secure investors and succeed in business – especially during a pandemic. Moderated by Fast Company editor-in-chief Stephanie Mehta.
  • Bruce Mau – Designing for the Cluster: Bruce Mau applies his MC24 design principles and his new life-centered approach to confronting the simultaneous cluster cascade of crisis that he calls The Cluster: Pandemics – Racial and social justice – Climate – Food Insecurity – Governance. In this conversation with philosopher and writer Sanford Kwinter, Mau will demonstrate that all of these global challenges are interrelated and that they have their origin in a fundamental crisis of empathy.
  • Building Equity In Startup Communities: A discussion about scaling equity throughout the technology, startup and venture ecosystem to ensure a path to shared prosperity for Black, Latinx and Indigenous People of Color in the fourth industrial revolution and beyond. Foundry Group and Techstars co-founder Brad Feld, and 100 Black Angels & Allies Fund and Opportunity Hub co-founder Rodney Sampson will discuss their strategies for operationalizing diversity, equity & inclusion in the startup ecosystem, moderated by Business Insider reporter Dominic-Madori Davis
  • Creating Through a Crisis: Join Adobe executive, author and entrepreneur Scott Belsky and designer, author, and educator Debbie Millman for an inspiring discussion of the ways creativity will shape our new, post-pandemic world and the exciting ways we can all be a part of the creative revolution.
  • Can 5G Transform the Live Music Experience?: In the last year we have felt the absence of live music. Artists have stepped up and gotten creative to reach fans virtually with some amazing results – but it can’t replace the impact of live performances. As we look forward to the return of live music, artists have a new platform to help deliver innovative experiences – 5G. The next generation of cellular delivers capabilities that can take the live experience to new levels of immersion and unlock new opportunities for artist creativity. Join Cristiano Amon, President and CEO-elect of wireless leader Qualcomm, and Grammy nominated DJ Steve Aoki and hear from two visionaries about the future of the live experience in a 5G world.
  • The Chainsmokers on launching MANTIS VC: Grammy® Award-winning and Billboard Chart topping artist/producer duo, The Chainsmokers, are a dominating musical force with a diverse repertoire of songs that have led them to become one of world’s biggest recording artists. Alex Pall and Drew Taggart have expanded The Chainsmokers’ empire into film and television, tequila, philanthropy, and most recently their venture capital firm Mantis. Hear their story on how the duo have evolved their music career into so much more with Andreessen Horowitz Managing Partner Chris Lyons.
  • A Conversation with Desus Nice and The Kid Mero: A conversation with multi-talented comedians, authors of the New York Times best seller God-Level Knowledge Darts: Life Lessons from the Bronx, co-hosts of Showtime’s first late-night talk show Desus & Mero and the long-running Bodega Boys podcast, Desus Nice and The Kid Mero.
  • A Conversation with Noah Hawley and Andrew Bird: Set in Kansas City 1950, Fargo’s fourth installment follows two crime syndicates jockeying to control an alternate economy of exploitation and graft while fighting for a piece of the American dream. Join Noah Hawley (creator / executive producer / director / writer) and GRAMMY ® Award nominated musician Andrew Bird for a not-to-be-missed conversation about how a concert in Austin lead to Bird’s acting debut in Fargo. Moderated by Whitney Friedlander. All four installments of the critically acclaimed limited series are currently available to stream on FX on Hulu.
  • A Conversation with the Russo Brothers and Elizabeth Banks: A fireside chat between visionary directors/producers Anthony and Joe Russo (Welcome to Collinwood, Arrested Development, Avengers: Endgame, Relic, Mosul and Cherry) and acclaimed actress, director, writer and producer Elizabeth Banks (Charlie’s Angels, The Hunger Games, and Shrill). Banks will talk to the Russo Brothers about their new film, Cherry, as well as the work they are doing with their company, AGBO. Cherry stars Tom Holland and is based on the critically acclaimed debut novel by Nico Walker. It will be released in theaters in February and on Apple TV+ in March.
  • COVID-19: The New Reality: Michael Osterholm Joined by health economist Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, will speak to the SXSW community about what is next in the fight against COVID-19. From the immediate concerns around new variants to the “collateral damage” we face from this pandemic, Dr. Osterholm and Ms. Sarasohn-Kahn will share insights to help navigate public health in 2021 and beyond.
  • Evolving the Gaming Industry with CouRage & Loaded: Gaming is taking off and bringing new opportunities for creators, brands and entertainment companies. Loaded, the leading management company for some of the world’s biggest professional gamers will host a special Q&A with leading content creator CouRage to examine the state of the today’s gaming industry and how the creator community has evolved the business for the better. The talk with Loaded VP of Talent Bridget Davidson will highlight key learning from CouRage’s successful career, as well as spotlight how brands and other non-endemic companies can work with creators to capture both eyeballs and engagement.
  • Fan & Band Interaction in Livestream & XR: a discussion about how to transform and engage todays’ audience of active online users and create a connection between fans and bands with Two time Grammy Awarded producer, writer, singer, multi-instrumentalist and technologist Imogen Heap, and leader, innovator and Fantracks Digital CEO Ty Roberts.
  • Forging a New Social Contract for Big Tech: Beyond privacy, revised liability laws can hold companies accountable for what they disseminate online. Antitrust actions could check the flow of wealth to the small number of companies that control platforms, aggregators, and algorithms. A lightweight horizontal regulation could add a safety layer to the high-risk applications of artificial intelligence. This discussion features U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, Denmark tech ambassador Anne Marie Engtoft Larsen, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager, and President & Co-founder Center for Humane Technology Tristan Harris, and will focus on the role for technology companies in the 21st Century and what a new “social contract” could look like for Big Tech – in both Europe and the United States.
  • Gene Editing: The Biotech Revolution of our Times: Bestselling author Walter Isaacson has established himself as the biographer of creativity, innovation, and genius. He wrote about Einstein, a genius of the revolution in physics, and Steve Jobs, a genius of the revolution in digital technology. Though the past half-century has been a digital age, based on the microchip, computer, and internet, Isaacson argues we are now on the cusp of a third revolution in science—a revolution in biochemistry that is capable of curing diseases, fending off viruses, and improving the human species. With the invention of CRISPR, we can edit our DNA. CRISPR has been used in China to create “designer babies” that are immune from the AIDS virus and in the U.S. to cure patients of sickle cell anemia. With the life-science revolution, children who study digital coding will be joined by those who study the code of life—and all the moral dilemmas this brings. Isaacson will be joined in conversation with award-winning journalist, New York Times best-selling author, and a co-founder of Stand Up to Cancer Katie Couric.
  • How to Build a More Authentic Online CommunityJoin social media pioneer and founder of the venture capital fund Seven Seven Six Alexis Ohanian as he explores the future of online community building alongside three architects at the forefront of social media’s next wave. Realtime’s Vernon Coleman, Gloria’s Victoire Cogevina and Dispo’s David Dobrik will join Ohanian to deconstruct the social media landscape and discuss how they’re individually building unique, authentic, and sustainable online communities for this new age.
  • Indigenous Peoples Hold the Key to Saving Earth: For centuries, Indigenous communities have served as guardians of the environment, protecting nature, respecting flora and fauna, and using traditional knowledge and wisdom passed down over generations. They safeguard 80% of biodiversity left in the world, which is key to turning around the climate crisis, as biodiverse areas are major carbon sinks. In this panel, Nemonte Nenquimo, a leader from the Waorani community in Ecuador and founding member of Indigenous-led nonprofit organization Ceibo Alliance and Amazon Frontlines speaks with Julia Jackson, Founder of Grounded.org, to discuss why climate philanthropy must be reimagined to protect the future of our planet, by directing resources to indigenous communities who are at the frontlines of our climate emergency.
  • Immersive Retail: Connected Shopping in a New Era: A conversation about the acceleration in changes to the retail environment and what major initiatives the retail industry is pursuing to enable the widespread proliferation of AR/VR and 3D content for e-commerce and retail with TechTalk/Studio president and co-founder Kevin O’Malley, IBM Global Business Strategy Partner Silke Meixner, and Unity Head of Industry Verticals, Operate Solutions, Tony Parisi.
  • Late Night Girls Club: Samantha Bee & Amber Ruffin: Samantha Bee (host and executive producer of the WGA nominated, Emmy Award-winning show Full Frontal with Samantha Bee) in conversation with Amber Ruffin (writer, executive producer and host of WGA Award-nominated series The Amber Ruffin Show). The two will discuss the trials and tribulations of covering politics in today’s unpredictable climate from a unique, comedic point of view. As the longest running correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Bee eventually went out on her own in 2016 with Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. The show continues to use political satire to entertain, educate, and empower viewers while keeping the government in check. Ruffin is also an Emmy and WGA Award-nominated writer and performer for Late Night with Seth Meyers, and was the first African American female to write for a late-night network talk show in the U.S.
  • Live Music in Venues: What’s Next?: 2020 was a year of catastrophic impact for the live music industry as the pandemic brought the industry to a screeching halt. A year later, this session brings together independent venue perspectives from across the US., including Troubadour talent booker Amy Madrigali, Iridium director of artist relations & programming Grace Blake, First Avenue Productions president and CEO Dayna Frank and moderated by Pollstar, VenuesNow executive editor Andy Gensler. How have they been able to support developing talent? What’s ahead for their establishment and how they can get back to supporting a full schedule of acts?
  • Melinda Gates+ Kelly Corrigan Talk Big Change: For more than two decades, Melinda Gates has been on a mission. Her goal, as co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has been to find solutions for people with the most urgent needs, wherever they live. Throughout this journey, she has come to a critical conclusion: when we lift up women, we lift up humanity. In conversation with podcaster, PBS host, and bestselling author Kelly Corrigan, Gates will discuss her bestselling book, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World, and its stories of the empowered women Gates has met over the years. Gates will talk about the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s work around family planning, education, and gender equality, and she will call us to action—urging us to drive progress in our homes, workplaces, and communities.
  • Music’s Limitless Variations: Hear from Lenzo Yoon, the Global CEO of BTS’ label Big Hit Entertainment (hereafter referred to as Big Hit), as he explains how Big Hit was able to see what comes next, as well as prepare for the future at every critical juncture, and share Big Hit’s past, present and tomorrow. Lenzo Yoon presents prospects and insights on the future of the K-pop industry and, furthermore, on the future of the global entertainment industry.
  • The New Marketplace of Music Royalties: A discussion around maximizing and navigating royalty opportunities for musicians and how the music modernization act will transform the landscape for music royalties with head of educational partnerships for The Mechanical Licensing Collective Serona Elton; founder and CEO of Sound Royalties Alex Heiche; CMO of The Mechanical Licensing Collective Ellen Truley; entertainment lawyer Robert A. Celetsin; and Grammy award-winning musician and actor Wyclef Jean.
  • Ocean Storytelling with James Cameron & Brian Skerry: Join world-renowned filmmaker and National Geographic Explorer at Large James Cameron and National Geographic Explorer and Photographer Brian Skerry on a guided adventure into the deep blue to discuss the upcoming Disney+ original documentary series Secrets of the Whales. Filmed over three years in 24 locations, avid underwater conservationists James Cameron and Brian Skerry join forces to deliver an epic, awe-inspiring look at the incredible life and culture of whales and how the world’s largest mammals are facing the challenge of an ever-changing ocean. Moderated by OceanXplorers executive producer Orla Doherty.
  • The Quest Effect: Inside VR’s Next Chapter: Anyone who has entered virtual reality knows what a transformative experience donning a headset can be. Until recently, that experience was enjoyed mainly by hard-core VR enthusiasts. This year, all-in-one VR has become better, more powerful, and more affordable, expanding and changing the makeup of who spends time in VR. Now, that new group is discovering how great VR can be — not only for games, but also for fitness, media, hangouts with friends, and even real work. Join Mark Rabkin, Vice President of Oculus at Facebook, for a discussion about the future of VR, its changing ecosystem, and what its recent success means for the development of the next computing platform.
  • Stepping into Space – The ISS Experience: Join NASA astronaut Jessica Meir, Félix Lajeunesse, Creative Director from Felix & Paul Studios, and Jonathan Woods, Executive Producer from TIME Studios, as they discuss the making of Space Explorers: The ISS Experience,the largest production ever filmed in space. Shot over two years, the series offers an intimate take on the joy, wonder, and dangers of life in orbit as Jessica Meir and seven of her fellow astronauts take on life-changing missions aboard the International Space Station. Joined by Moderator Laura Mingail, Meir, Lajeunesse and Woods will share their personal experiences, challenges and the meaning that their epic four-part immersive series conveys for each.
  • STARZ’S “Power” Universe Collides: Join STARZ’S Power Universe co-creator, Curtis “50 Cent” JacksonPower Book II: Ghost cast: Michael Rainey Jr.Mary J. Blige, and Cliff “Method Man” SmithPower Book III: Raising Kanan cast: Mekai Curtis and Patina Miller; and Power Book IV: Force lead: Joseph Sikora, for the first time ever as the Power Universe collides. Moderated by media personality and bestselling author Angie MartinezPower stars will discuss: the legacy of the Power Universe, the latest on upcoming seasons, the future and fate of new and iconic characters.
  • Ted Lasso: Emotion in the Edit: Join producers and members of the Ted Lasso editorial team in a panel discussion on the magic of Bill Lawrence shows (Scrubs, Cougar Town, Spin City) and how editorial is the true partner in landing the jokes, drawing out emotion and making it feel like you’re spending 30 minutes with your long time pack of friends. American Cinema Editors (ACE) CinemaEditor Magazine writer Nancy Jundi will moderate the panel with representatives from the Ted Lasso creative and editorial team (Bill LawrenceKip KroegerMelissa McCoy, andJ. Catoline) to elaborate on the many considerations that go into building and honoring a character across episodes, seasons and a series.
  • The Way Forward for Artists: A candid conversation about the future of creating a sustainable income for artists and controlling their own destiny with Marc Geiger, former global head of music at William Morris, founder of Lollapalooza and recent founder of Savelive a national live venue network designed to reinvent and rescue music clubs across the U.S. and Tim Westergren, founder and former CEO of Pandora and co-founder of live-streaming platform Sessions.
  • Who Controls the Past: The Tulsa Race Massacre: How is it possible that the 1921 massacre of as many as thousands of Black people in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was almost erased from US history? And why is it finally penetrating the national consciousness? Featured in HBO’s The Watchmen and Lovecraft Country, this history survived because of the dedicated efforts of Black Tulsans, including the descendants of survivors, who have made it their life’s work to uncover what really happened and make sure we never forget. This session, moderated by Jeffery Robinson from Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America, examines the work of activists Tiffany CrutcherChief Egunwale F. AmusanKristi Orisabiyi Williams to take control of the historical narrative, and in so doing, to force a reckoning on racial justice in this country and a long overdue conversation on reparations for Black Americans.
  • Why Do We Fear Innovation?: A conversation featuring actress, author and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik and historian, philosopher and best-selling author Yuval Noah Harari, Moderated by Tech Open Air founder Niko Woischnik. From the printing press to vaccines to artificial intelligence, the introduction of almost any transformative technology has been met with wonder as well as fear and rejection. Many of history’s greatest inventors were considered heretics–the archetype of the mad scientist exists for a reason. Why does the new still scare us? What does it take to build acceptance for transformative ideas? How does the unprecedented scientific progress to deliver COVID vaccines influence this? What role does disinformation play in shaping our fears? How can we ensure innovators consider ethical issues, so outcomes can lead to the betterment of people and the planet? What can innovators learn from artists and creators of fiction?
  • Why The Music Biz is Buzzing About the Metaverse: In the midst of the 2020 global pandemic, one of the biggest concerts ever took place in the virtual worlds of Roblox. Two-time Grammy Award winner Lil Nas X gave a performance debut of his new single ‘Holiday’ and other top hits, dancing and socializing with fans, and attracting over 30 million concert views in this revolutionary music experience. The concert’s unprecedented success was made possible by the Metaverse, a social and technological phenomenon driven by a new generation growing up online and global platforms paving a new way for people to be together, even when they can’t in person. Hear from Maverick Management music manager Zach Kardisch, futurist and CEO of Futures Intelligence Group Cathy Hackl, Roblox Global Head of Music Jon Vlassopulos, and Columbia Records SVP, Experiential Marketing and business development Ryan Ruden about how the Metaverse is shaping the future of music business, today.

Francisca Valenzuela to Participate in This Year’s SXSW Virtual Event

Francisca Valenzuela is heading south (by southwest)…

SXSW has announced its first slate of artists for the popular Austin festival’s virtual event, with the 33-year-old Chilean American feminist pop powerhouse set to make an appearance during the March 16-20 digital experience.

Francisca Valenzuela

Valenzuela rose to acclaim in Chile and Latin America following the release of her debut album, Muérdete La Lengua in June 2007. Her second album, Buen Soldado, followed in March 2011. Valenzuela has earned both gold and platinum album certification in Chile.

As a virtual event, the roster of SXSW artists is especially international this year, with performances scheduled from Indonesian indie jangle-pop trio Grrrl Gang; Nigerian-born, London-raised U.K. Afrobeats singer Darkoo; rising Spanish-Cuban Latin pop sensation Samantha Sanchez; and Canadian live-electronic/dance experimentalists Holy F–k among the first round of artists.

In addition to Valenzuela and Sanchez, other Latinx artists scheduled to take part in this year’s SXSW virtual event include Alien Tango, BELAKO, Candeleros, Dayramir Gonzalez, El Shirota, Los Blenders, Luisa e os Alquimistas, Petite Amie, Ruido Rosa, Tuyo, Vaya Futuro and Vocal Vidas.

Passholders will have access to these unique artists performing from their home countries with streaming available via web, mobile, and the SXSW Online Connected TV app (Apple TV, Fire TV, Roku, Samsung TV Plus, and Android TV). Select content will be viewable in VR via SXSW Online XR. This year’s SXSW Online passes begin at $249 and will go up to $399 in March. Passholders get access to conference keynotes and featured speakers, mentor sessions and workshops, musical showcases and events, comedy showcases and podcast, online exhibitions and more.

Previously announced speakers include Queen LatifahThe ChainsmokersLL Cool J and a keynote from Willie Nelson.

Click here for a full list of artists.