C7: Hugh Forrest: “Thinking about the creative rebirth that happened in the years following 9-11.”

“C7” is what we call our Corona questionnaire, which artists, media people, acquaintances and unknowns fill out to describe their path through the crisis. Here the Chief Programming Officer of the renowned SXSW festival from Austin answers.

What surprises you in the crisis?

That what was completely crazy last week seems completely acceptable this week.

What helps you not to go crazy in the lockdown?

At home exercise, as well as meditation and good food.

Which series/ which book/ which film helps you through the crisis?

I have been watching lots of Guy Ritchie movies and reading lots of Haruki Murakami novels.

What scares you?

Politicians and policy makers who ignore science.

What gives you hope?

Thinking about the creative rebirth that happened in the years following 9-11.

The world 2021

Will be a very different place, but will be full of new opportunities.

What have you personally learned from this crisis?

The fragility of everything that I had thought was completely solid.


Forrest was named “Austinite of the Year” in 2012 by the Austin Chamber of Commerce (along with fellow SXSW Directors Roland Swenson, Louis Black and Nick Barbaro). In 2014, Forrest and these other SXSW Directors were named Austin Entrepreneurs of the Year by Ernst & Young.

He recently received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Kenyon College, his alma matter.