Keynote speakers embody the DIY spirit, ingenuity, and entrepreneurial drive that SXSW uniquely cultivates. These powerful presentations by diverse visionaries from the ever-evolving worlds of Interactive, Film, and Music are the center of the SXSW Conference.


2014 SXSW Conference Keynote (Film), Lena Dunham. Photo by Michael Buckner.

About Keynotes


At the crux of each day’s SXSW Conference programming, join us for hour-long Keynotes. These presentations by some of the creative and tech industry’s most inspired thinkers cover a wide range of compelling topics.

SXSW 2017 Keynotes will take place from Friday, March 10 – Saturday, March 18 and feature speakers from the Interactive, Film, Music, and Convergence Tracks.

The SXSW Conference will include 13 total Keynote speakers announced throughout the season.

Explore our recently announced 2017 Keynotes below and stay tuned to SXSW News for more announcements.

2017 Keynotes

Lee Daniels

Lee Daniels – ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Joseph Viles/FOX.

Lee Daniels is a widely recognized director, writer, producer, and philanthropist in both the film and television space. He is perhaps best known for the 2013 critically acclaimed box office smash Lee Daniels’ The Butler, in addition to his 2009 feature Precious: Based on the Novel by Sapphire, which was nominated for six Academy Awards including “Best Motion Picture of the Year” and “Best Achievement in Directing.” The film also made history as Daniels became the first African-American to be nominated for the DGA’s Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film Award.

Daniels’ other feature directing credits include his 2005 directorial debut Shadowboxer and the 2012 thriller The Paperboy, in addition to producing Monster’s Ball, for which Halle Berry won an Oscar. In 2015, Daniels expanded his influence into the world of television by co-creating the Fox network’s mega hit series Empire, for which he wrote and directed the pilot and additional episodes and continues to serve as producer for the show. He is currently in development on his latest series, STAR, set to premiere on Fox in early 2017.

Lee Daniels is a 2017 SXSW Conference Keynote (Film).

Photo by Joseph Viles/FOX

Jennifer Doudna


Jennifer Doudna, Ph.D is a professor of molecular and cell biology and chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, where she holds the Li Ka Shing Chancellor’s Chair in Biomedical and Health Sciences, and is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. As a co­inventor of CRISPR­Cas9, a process that revolutionized gene editing, she has received numerous honors including the NSF Waterman Award, the FNIH Lurie Prize, the Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research, the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, the Gruber Prize in Genetics, the Massry Prize, the Heineken Award, the Gairdner Award, the Nakasone Award, and the L’Oreal­ UNESCO International Prize for Women in Science.

She is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, and the National Academy of Inventors, and a Foreign Member of the Royal Society, and she was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2015.

Jennifer Doudna is a 2017 SXSW Conference Keynote (Interactive).

Jill Soloway

Jill Soloway-keynote

Jill Soloway is the creator of Transparent, which has won two Golden Globes and five Emmys, including one for her directing. Transparent has received ten Emmy nominations for the 2016 season.

Jill founded Topple Productions in 2015 and is the co-­creator and director of the forthcoming television adaptation of Chris Kraus’s critically acclaimed novel I Love Dick. Her first feature, Afternoon Delight, won the 2013 Directing Award at Sundance. Outside the world of TV and film, Jill co-created theatrical experiences The Real Live Brady Bunch, The Miss Vagina Pageant, Hollywood Hellhouse, and Sit and Spin, and is the author of Tiny Ladies in Shiny Pants.

Jill Soloway is a 2017 SXSW Conference Keynote (Film).

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Explore SXSW Conference Tracks

The SXSW Conference provides an opportunity for global professionals at every level to participate, learn, and network. Each track allows attendees to explore what’s next in the worlds of entertainment, culture, and technology.

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