'Basquiat' director Julian Schnabel to lead filmmaking seminar in Easton

Julian Schnabel.  (Courtesy Photo)

Julian Schnabel. (Courtesy Photo)

Julian Schnabel, the award-winning director and renowned multidisciplinary artist, will open the 2018 Movies at the Mill festival as the keynote speaker for "The Art of Filmmaking" Seminar Series in Easton.

The announcement was made Wednesday in a news release.

The seminar will be held Sept. 29 prior to the festival. Tickets for the seminar, and Movies at the Mill, are available through the Movies at the Mill Facebook page.

A time and location for the seminar will be announced at a later date.

Schnabel's debut directorial effort, 1996's Basquiat, earned critical praise for its portrayal of neo-expressionist artist Jean-Michael Basquiat (portrayed by actor Jeffrey Wright) and the latter's life as an artist in early 1980s New York City during So-Ho's burgeoning art scene.

Schnabel's film Before Night Falls earned lead actor Javier Bardem a Best Actor Oscar in 2001. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, also directed by Schnabel, landed Schnabel a Best Director of the Year distinction at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival and racked up four Oscar nominations.

He current directional effort, At Eternity's Gate, about the life of Vincent van Gogh, was previewed at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival to critical acclaim and will be shown the Venice Film Festival and New York Film Festival, among other upcoming film festivals, before receiving wide distribution, according to the release. 

In addition to his work behind the lens, Schnabel has been a pivotal and vital force in the art word, both in the United States and overseas, with his work having been exhibited around in the world in various prestigious museums, according to the release. He first came to prominence as as an artist in the late '70s with his series of "plate paintings."

Previous Movies at the Mill keynote speakers include documentarian Morgan Spurlock, of Super Size Me fame, writer-actor-director Gary Ross and director Doug Liman.

The first Movies at the Mill was held in 2009 at the Silk property. The event remained there for four years before relocating in 2013 to Easton's Hugh Moore Park and in 2014 to the State Theatre. Movies at the Mill has recently been held at the parking deck behind City Hall; last year's event was held on the roof of the facility. 

In the near decade since its inception, Movies at the Mill has showcased short films directed, written, and produced by Lehigh Valley-based and international filmmakers, as well as guest submissions from such Hollywood talent as actor-director Danny DeVito and actor Matthew Modine. (DeVito's short film Curmudgeons took won the 2017 Movies at the Mill Best in Show award.)