BOOM FOR REAL THE LATE TEENAGE YEARS OF JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT follows Basquiat’s life pre-fame and how New York City, the times, the people and the movements surrounding him formed the artist he became. Using never before seen works, writings and photographs, Director Sara Driver worked closely and collaboratively with her friends and other artists who emerged from that scene: Nan Goldin, Jim Jarmusch, James Nares, Fred Brathwaite aka Fab Five Freddy, Lee Quiñones, Luc Sante and many others. Providing their thoughts, period film footage, music, images, and anecdotes of their young friend, they helped visually tell the story of Basquiat’s downtown NYC – pre Aids, President Reagan, the real estate and art boom, and before anyone was motivated by money and ambition. The definition of fame, success and power were very different than today – to be a penniless but published poet was the height of success, until
everything changed in the early 1980’s. This is New York City’s story before that change.
Sara Driver adapted, produced and directed the film version of Paul Bowles’ short story, You Are Not I (1982). The film was lost for many years and then rediscovered among Paul Bowles’ belongings. It was awarded a restoration grant by the Women’s Film Preservation Fund via NYWFT and selected and shown in the Masterworks section of the New York Film Festival 2011.
Her first feature film Sleepwalk (1986) won the prestigious Prix Georges Sadoul given by the French Cinémathèque. It was the opening night film for the 25th Anniversary of the Semaine de la Critique at Cannes and won the Special Prize at the Mannheim Film Festival. In 1993, her second feature When Pigs Fly starring Marianne Faithfull and Alfred Molina premiered in competition at the Locarno Film Festival.
Driver’s other film credits include producer on Jim Jarmusch’s Permanent Vacation, Stranger Than Paradise, Tom Waits music video “It’s All Right With Me” and co-producer of Uncle Howard by Aaron Brookner. Besides the film career, Driver also taught directing at New York University’s Graduate Film School (1996-98).
Sara Driver On Working With Her Artist Friends on BOOM FOR REAL
“Working closely and collaboratively with my friends and other artists who emerged from that scene: Nan Goldin, Jim Jarmusch, James Nares, Fred Brathwaite aka Fab Five Freddy, Lee Quiñones, Luc Sante and many others participated in the film with their thoughts, period film footage, music, images and anecdotes of their young friend help to visually tell the story of Jean-Michel’s downtown NYC — pre Aids, before the real estate and art boom, and before anyone was motivated by money and ambition. The definition of fame, success and ambition were very different than today — to be a penniless but a published poet was the height of success. President Reagan, the influx of money, Aids and drugs changed everything after 1981.
Jean-Michel investigated many things via his friends and his innate curiosity, producing accomplishments as a poet, a musician, a painter and a sculptor. All in all Jean-Michel was excited by ideas, absorbing them whenever and wherever possible. This film celebrates the humanism of Jean-Michel, while avoiding his mystification. Three decades after his death, he is considered one of the major artists’ of the 20th century. Jean-Michel Basquiat was not only an extraordinary and prolific artist but also broke open a very closed and elitist white art world. I like to think of him as a cross between Rimbaud and Mozart — a brilliant and poetic prankster whose creative impulses were on fire.”
BOOM FOR REAL Opens Theatrically May 11th