Lee Daniels Joins SXSW Keynote Speakers Lineup

Lee Daniels - Human Rights Campaign 2016-Getty-H 2016
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The Academy's Cheryl Boone Isaacs will appear as one of the featured speakers.

Lee Daniels has been added to the list of keynote speakers who will appear at the South by Southwest Conference and Festivals that runs March 10-19. Director of Lee Daniels’ The Butler and co-creator of TV’s Empire, Daniels is readying a new series, Star, which will premiere on Fox in early 2017.

The festival also announced more additions to its featured speakers lineup, including Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; Kate Crawford, who studies artificial intelligence; Bill Ford, exec chairman of Ford Motor Company and journalist Doug Newcomb; author  Parag Khanna;  Kimbal Musk, cofounder of The Kitchen; author Peggy Orenstein; music supervisor Randall Poster;  entrepreneur and chairman of the Sacramento Kings Vivek Ranadivé; and author and TV host Rachael Ray. 

The featured session “Product Mavericks: Top Tips from Women Who Build” was also announced, with Merci Grace, who leads the Growth team at Slack; Stephanie Hannon, chief technology officer, Hillary for America; Tali Rapaport, Lyft vp product; and Fidji Simo, director of product at Facebook.

"The SXSW Conference is designed to give creatives the tools they need to achieve their goals, and what better way than bringing together a diverse slate of today’s influencers and making them available to all badge types, fueling the cross-industry creative combustion we’re known for,” said Janet Pierson, head of film. “We are particularly excited about Lee Daniels as Film Keynote for his unparalleled talent, passion, continued experimentation and career evolution. He’s been the driving force behind so much extraordinary work in a number of ways. His artistic leaps and risk-taking are exactly what we love to celebrate at SXSW.”

New for 2017, the Interactive, Film, and Music badges will include expanded access to more of the SXSW Conference & Festivals. Attendees will still receive primary entry to programming associated with their badge type, but can now enjoy secondary access to most other SXSW events. SXSW’s first registration deadline is Sept. 9 at 11:59 p.m. PT.