One of the most exciting speakers at this year’s SXSW Festival is writer/director Barry Jenkins, who will be speaking Sunday, March 11 at 11 AM at the Austin Convention Center. He will be one of two film keynotes at SXSW, the other being writer/director Darren Aronofsky.
Jenkins began writing and directing in 2003 with the short film “My Josephine.” That same year, he made another short titled “Little Brown Boy,” then didn’t release any new work until 2008 when his debut feature, “Medicine for Melancholy,” premiered at SXSW. That film deals with conflict in personal relationships, as well as the conflict of being a minority in a rapidly-gentrifying metro area, and it made a splash both at the festival and with many critics. Jenkins made two shorts in 2009, directed an episode of the TV show “Futurestates” in 2011, and released yet another short film that same year, but he didn’t get widespread recognition until his 2016 feature “Moonlight.”
“Moonlight” tells the story of one man as he grows up, from child to adolescent to adult, dealing with not only his mother’s addiction but his own struggle with his homosexuality. The movie was set in Jenkins’s native Miami and became renowned for its touching story of a gay black man, the type of story that is rarely told (or told so well). “Moonlight” won Best Picture – Drama at the Golden Globes as well as Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Jenkins and co-writer Tarell Alvin McCraney took home the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay as well. Watch their speech below.
In 2017, Jenkins directed an episode of Netflix’s series “Dear White People,” continuing to tell the stories of underrepresented populations in the media – no doubt a topic that will heavily influence his talk at SXSW. His adaptation of James Baldwin’s novel “If Beale Street Could Talk” is currently in post-production, and his adaptation of The Underground Railroad is in development.
To learn more about Barry Jenkins’s appearance at SXSW, visit the festival’s website here.