SXSW 2017 Taps 'Empire' Creator Lee Daniels as Film Keynote Speaker

Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for DIFF
Lee Daniels poses during a portrait session on day seven of the 11th Annual Dubai International Film Festival held at the Madinat Jumeriah Complex on Dec. 16, 2014 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. 

The organizers of Austin’s South by Southwest announced Tuesday (Sept. 6) that acclaimed film director and Empire creator Lee Daniels will serve as the 2017 conference’s film keynote speaker. 

Daniels is best known for highly praised films like The Butler and Precious, as well the hit hip-hop television drama, Empire. His new musical TV drama, Star, will premiere on Fox in early 2017.

The 2017 SXSW is being held March 10-19.

SXSW Expands Access for Attendees, Announces First Wave of Keynotes & Speakers

The conference has announced its second wave of keynotes and featured speakers. They include Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science president Cheryl Boone Isaacs; Ford Motor Company executive chairman Bill Ford; entrepreneur Kimbal Musk; renowned music supervisor Randall Poster; and celebrity cook (and SXSW staple) Rachael Ray.

The featured session, “Product Mavericks: Top Tips from Women Who Build,” will include panelists Merci Grace,  who leads the Growth team at Slack; Stephanie Hannon, CTO of Hillary for America; Tali Rapaport, VP of product at Lyft; and Fidji Simo, director of Product at Facebook.

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Organizers also unveiled the first wave of artists that are scheduled to perform. Fans of Netflix's Stranger Things may recognize Austin's S U R V I V E as the duo behind the series' creepy, synth-y soundtrack:

Akina Adderley & The Vintage Playboys (Austin, TX); Agosto (San Isidro, Argentina); Alex Napping (Austin, TX); Rocky Banks (Houston, TX); Vera Blue (Forbes, Australia); BOOHER (Austin, TX); Cory Branan (Nashville, TN); Allysen Callery (Bristol, RI); Alex Cameron (Sydney, Australia); Laura Carbone (Mannheim, Germany); Chain of Flowers (Cardiff, UK England); Chain Wallet (Bergen, Norway); Chelou (London, UK-England); Crater (Seattle, WA); Creepoid (Philadelphia, PA); Diet Cig (New Paltz, NY); Dubfire (Washington, DC); Forth Wanderers (Montclair, NJ); FOXTRAX (Los Angeles, CA); Colin Gilmore (Austin, TX); Henry Hall (New York, NY); Hard Proof (Austin, TX); Hoops (Bloomington, IN); Jain (Paris, France); Tameca Jones (Austin, TX); King Cayman (Madrid, Spain); Alex Lahey (Melbourne, Australia); Lazyeyes (Brooklyn, NY); Carlo Lio (Toronto, Canada); Demi Louise (Boronia, Australia); Elizabeth McQueen, (EMQ and Psiplay) (Austin, TX); Misimplicity (Austin, TX); My Education (Austin, TX); Never Young (Oakland, CA); Agnes Obel (Berlin, Germany); Pastel Ghost (Brooklyn, NY); Sara ∏ (Barcelona, Spain); Polarheart (Sydney, Australia); The Quebe Sisters (Dallas, TX); Ratboys (Chicago, IL); Running Touch (Melbourne, Australia); San Fermin (Brooklyn, NY), Oscar Key Sung (Melbourne, Australia); S U R V I V E (Austin, TX); Tasha the Amazon (Toronto, Canada); Throttle (Melbourne, Australia); Adam Torres (Austin, TX); Trudy and the Romance (London, England); Wafia (Brisbane, Australia); Miss Lavelle White and the L Men (Austin, TX); Yoke Lore (Brooklyn, NY); Jesse Colin Young (Aiken, SC); and Yung Gordon 4 (Miami, FL). 

SXSW’s first registration deadline is Sept. 9 at 11:59 p.m. PT. Early registrants benefit from discounted rates.