Raised in Texas, director Julian Schnabel began his career as an artist, holding his first solo exhibition in 1975 at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston. Schnabel became a key figure in the Neo-expressionism artistic movement, utilizing an audacious style that was often described as raw, evocative, and unapologetic. Throughout the 1980s Schnabel received international media attention for his "plate paintings"—large-scale paintings set on broken ceramic plates.
Schnabel's filmmaking career began in 1996 when he wrote and directed “Basquiat,” a biopic about the life of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. He followed that up with another biopic, 2000's “Before Night Falls,” about Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas. In 2007, Schnabel directed an adaptation of “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” a memoir by Jean-Dominique Bauby, who suffered a stroke and became paralyzed in every part of his body except for a single eyelid. The film screened at the Cannes Film Festival, where it was nominated for the Golden Palm award and won the festival's Best Director award. The film also won Schanbel a Golden Globe for Best Director and was nominated for four Academy Awards.
His latest film “Miral” tackles the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, telling the story of an orphaned Palestinian girl who finds herself drawn into the struggle.