SXSW Film & TV Festival Taps Claudette Godfrey as Director After Janet Pierson Steps Aside

SXSW Film & TV Festival Taps Claudette Godfrey as Director After Janet Pierson Steps Aside

10/05/2022

Longtime SXSW Film & TV Festival Director Janet Pierson will transition to be Director Emeritus, the South by Southwest Conference and Festivals announced Wednesday.

Her deputy Claudette Godfrey will take over leadership of the festival. Pierson served as head of the film and TV branch of SXSW for 15 years, part of her 45 years in the independent film business as producer’s rep, exhibitor and many other roles.

During her time at SXSW, the festival launched a dedicated section for episodic programs, years before other festivals.

In her new role, she will serve as a programmer for the next edition of the fest in 2023, where she will be feted for her contributions to SXSW and entertainment.

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

Godfrey, a native of Austin, has worked with SXSW for 17 years in several capacities. She will now lead the team and be responsible for the vision, programming and execution of the SXSW Film & TV Festival, and the film and TV-focused content within the SXSW Conference.

In her new role, Godfrey will lead the team and be responsible for the vision, programming, and execution of the SXSW Film & TV Festival, and the film and TV-focused content within the SXSW Conference.  

“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,” said Godfrey. “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.”

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