Centerpiece: Sorry to Bother You
Oakland, CA 94610 United States
The wait is over – Bay Area icon Boots Riley’s outrageous, taboo-breaking satire is now a wonderfully deranged feature film. Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) gets hired as a telemarketer for Oakland company RegalView. His potential blossoms when he finds his “white voice”—a hilarious voice-over running gag—but moving up the ranks leads to conflicts with coworkers and his girlfriend, not to mention the nefarious activities (including genetic manipulation!) he discovers being perpetrated by RegalView’s CEO, played by Armie Hammer. With shades of Charlie Kaufman, Jordan Peele, and Jonathan Swift, Sorry to Bother You brings surreal flair, dazzling originality, and a scathing lampoon of societal mores and hyper-capitalist excess to the familiar streets of Oakland, California. Costars Tessa Thompson, Steven Yuen, and Danny Glover, with music by The Coup and Tune-Yards.
The film received funding and creative support through SFFILM artist development programs, including a FilmHouse residency and several SFFILM / Rainin Filmmaking Grants.
“Nearly as deranged as it is politically engaged, Boots Riley’s sui generis Sorry to Bother You is the kind of debut feature that knocks your socks off, tickles your bare tootsies with goose feathers for a while, then goes all Kathy Bates in the final stretch, ultimately taking a sledgehammer to your kneecaps.” – Peter Debruge, Variety
“This is ultraprogressive, radical storytelling that manages to stay totally joyful and inventive throughout. Riley manages to both never come off as taking the thing too seriously, but he also verbalizes his intersectional, anti-capitalist ideals in visually unforgettable fashion. The soundtrack by tUnE-yArDs’ Merrill Garbus is organic and twitchy, as is the music by Riley’s own band. There is a cohesiveness that dares to add a new element at every turn.” – Emily Yoshida, Vulture.com
Activist, filmmaker, and musician, former FilmHouse resident and SFFILM grantee Boots Riley studied film at San Francisco State University before rising to prominence as the front man of hip-hop groups The Coup and Street Sweeper Social Club. He previously directed The Coup’s music videos “Eating Forever” and “Me and Jesus the Pimp in a ’79 Granada Last Night.” According to Riley, Sorry to Bother You’s Oakland location is a key element of the film, “The story and my understanding of the world and everything springs out from this geographical spot.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
Director Boots Riley
Producer Nina Yang Bongiovi, Jonathan Duffy, Charles King, George Rush, Forest Whitaker, Kelly Williams
Writer Boots Riley
Editor Terel Gibson
Cinematographer Doug Emmett
Music The Coup, Merrill Garbus, Boots Riley, Tune-Yards
Cast Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Armie Hammer, Danny Glover