SXSW Sydney's Speaker Lineup Just Added First Nations Filmmakers, Osher Günsberg and Layne Beachley

The debut festival's screen lineup is still on its way, but Leah Purcell, Jub Clerc and Kodie Bedford are already part of it.
Sarah Ward
Published on July 06, 2023
Updated on October 06, 2023

SXSW Sydney is still three months away (yes, we're counting), but the first-ever South by Southwest to be held outside of the US just keeps getting bigger and bigger. So far, the conference-slash-festival has dropped an initial round of speakers, a batch of music highlights and must-attend parties, and details of its gaming strand. Now, it has unveiled more fascinating folks who'll be chatting behind a microphone.

The SXSW Sydney Screen Festival hasn't yet revealed what it'll be showing; however, SXSW's Sydney debut has just added a stellar session on First Nations storytelling with three impressive filmmakers on the bill. Leah Purcell (The Drover's Wife The Legend of Molly Johnson), Kodie Bedford (Mystery Road: Origin) and Jub Clerc (Sweet As) will all take to the stage at The Next Gen Blak Storytellers, which is about Indigenous talents telling 'modern' Blak stories. On moderating duties: Brooke Boney.

Also familiar from plenty of screens is Osher Günsberg, who'll be on the SXSW Sydney bill recording an episode of his podcast Better Than Yesterday with a yet-to-be-announced special guest.

Hailing from behind the scenes, Gone Girl, The Nightingale, The Dry, Big Little Lies and Nine Perfect Strangers producer Bruna Papandrea joins the lineup as a featured speaker, as does Binge's Executive Director Alison Hurbert-Burns.

And, the SXSW Sessions lineup now includes Silverchair's Ben Gillies talking about creating music videos with AI, plus other talks on video-game collecting at the National Film and Sound Archive, plus death and dying in video games.

Another of SXSW Sydney's new high-profile names: Layne Beachley, with the seven-time World Surfing Champion discussing facing retirement at 36 and reinventing herself afterwards.

Fellow just-announced speakers include Indonesian Minister for Tourism and Creative Economy Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno, plus Expedia Group Chief Technology Officer and President Rathi Murthy.

Also joining the program: connecting our minds to hands-free digital devices, e-waste, AI in the workforce, Aussie startups, NFTs, the future of news media, protecting the oceans, swiping right, sessions on lab-grown meat and more.

Obviously, all of the above names and sessions — plus others already announced — are still just the beginning of what's promising to be SXSW's massive Sydney arrival. The entire event will happen within a walkable precinct in the Sydney CBD, Haymarket, Darling Harbour, Ultimo, Chippendale and more, with the fest's footprint operating as a huge hub. SXSW will also be packed with festivals within the bigger fest, exhibitions, talks, networking opportunities and streetside activations popping up everywhere. So far, venues named include Powerhouse Museum, ICC Sydney, UTS, Central Park Mall, the Goods Line Walk, The Abercrombie and Lansdowne Hotel.

Attendees can hit up the SXSW Sydney Conference, which is where those keynotes, presentations, panels, workshops and mentor sessions come in — more than 400 of them. And, there's the SXSW Sydney Technology & Innovation Exhibitions, which is all about innovative and emerging tech and entertainment companies from across the Asia-Pacific region. Plus, at the Startup Village, up-and-comers from all industries and sectors will have space to meet, present and chat.

SXSW's arts fests will span the SXSW Sydney 2023 Music Festival, which will be focused on live music venues in central Sydney — and the aforementioned SXSW Sydney Gaming Festival, complete with more than 100 local and international independent games to play at venues (alongside demonstrations, launches performances, exhibitions and social gatherings).

Movie and TV lovers, get excited — because the SXSW Sydney Screen Festival isn't just a film fest. There'll be flicks to see, including at red-carpet premieres; episodic content; and digital, XR and social content. Expect Q&As and panel discussions with the folks behind them as well.

SXSW Sydney will run from Sunday, October 15–Sunday, October 22 at various Sydney venues — head to the festival's website for further details.


Published on July 06, 2023 by Sarah Ward
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