Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat

Thursday, April 19, 2018 9:30pm

Filmmaker Sara Driver explores the pre-fame years of the celebrated American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, and how New York City, its people, and shifting arts culture of the late 1970s and ‘80s shaped his vision. Conveying Basquiat’s personal magnetism, eccentricity and non-stop creativity, the doc serves as another chapter in the ongoing effort to rescue Basquiat from his own hype.

Period film footage, music, images, and anecdotes from other artists who emerged from the scene (Nan Goldin, Jim Jarmusch, James Nares, Fab Five Freddy, Lee Quinones, Luc Sante) help visually tell the story of Jean-Michel’s downtown NYC - pre Aids, President Reagan, the real estate and art boom, and before anyone was motivated by money and ambition.

Driver does a great job of showing how Basquiat’s graffiti smears were more than just a subjective piece of art but also spoke candidly to social commentary on race, poverty, and oppression. 

Community partner: WALL/THERAPY 

A Skype Q&A with director Sara Driver will follow this opening night screening. 


Sara Driver

Sara Driver is an American independent filmmaker from Westfield, New Jersey. A participant in the independent film scene that flourished in lower Manhattan from the late 1970s through the 1990s, she gained initial recognition as producer of two early films by Jim Jarmusch, Permanent Vacation and Stranger Than Paradise. Driver has directed two feature films, Sleepwalk and When Pigs Fly as well as a notable short film, You Are Not I. She served on the juries of various film festivals throughout the 2000s.