SXSW Film and TV Festival Director Janet Pierson Moves to New Director Emeritus Role

The newly-minted SXSW Film & TV Festival will now have a new director along with its new name.

The 2023 festival will be helmed by Claudette Godfrey, taking over for longtime mentor Janet Pierson, who ran SXSW for 15 years as VP Director. Pierson will transition into a “Director Emeritus” role.

“Leading SXSW Film (now SXSW Film & TV) starting in 2008 at the age of 50 was a wonderful, and quite unexpected, adventure,” Pierson said in a press statement. “It’s been glorious to present so much great work at our unique event, yielding so many transformative experiences for creators and audience alike.”

Pierson continued, “I’m intensely proud of the work our small and very mighty team has accomplished. Now, 15 years and 14 events later, it feels right to hand the reins to the new Director, Film & TV, Claudette Godfrey. Claudette and I began working together in 2008 and she has been a significant collaborator and leader every step of the way. I’m excited to remain on the programming team to continue to support and elevate creators in this new capacity as Director Emeritus. It’s been a true privilege and I’m filled with gratitude.”

Prior to leading SXSW, Pierson worked as an exhibitor, a producer’s representative, and a creative force for IFC-Criterion’s Split Screen, hosted by her husband John Pierson. She also served on the Austin Film Society board. Longtime collaborator Godfrey joined as a SXSW programmer in 2008 and is credited with championing the works of independent artists like the Daniels, Janicza Bravo, and Trey Edward Shults.

“Janet is an incredible leader and mentor, and I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to watch and learn from her example. Our bold community of filmmakers, our enthusiastic audiences, and our gifted team that makes it all happen perpetually inspire me,” Godfrey said. “I’m a hype woman at heart, and it’s a great joy in my life to discover and elevate new talent by curating and evolving an event that celebrates film, TV, and creativity. I started from the bottom and the journey has been exceptional – it’s an immense honor to continue to build on the legacy of SXSW Film & TV and take it into the future.”

The 2023 SXSW Film & TV Festival is set to take place March 10 through 19 in Austin, Texas. The SXSW Film & TV badge is available at the lowest rate August 2 through September 15, 2022. Registration for the 2023 festival opens August 2 to get the best hotel rates and options. SXSW Film, TV, XR submissions open on August 23 through October 18, 2022.

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