SIFF 2018: Centerpiece: Sorry to Bother You
Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, and Armie Hammer star in the exhilarating directorial debut of musician Boots Riley, a biting and bonkers satire that follows a black telemarketer who discovers an unknown skill which gives him magical selling powers that shoot him up the corporate ladder.
Musician Boots Riley's debut feature film is an off-the-wall, neon, drug-fueled, dystopian black comedy that doesn't slow down for a moment for you to catch your breath. Lakeith Stanfield ("Atlanta," Short Term 12) leads us on this journey as Cassius Green, a down-on-his-luck guy looking for any job that can help lift him out of his situation. When he jumps on an opening at a telemarketing company, he quickly learns that he'll improve his sales by utilizing his "white voice," voiced perfectly by David Cross ("Arrested Development," "Mr. Show"), and proceeds to become a power caller. But what is he even selling? Cassius receives support from Detroit (Tessa Thompson, Selma, Dear White People), Cassius's activist/artist girlfriend who wears her feelings on her earrings, at least until she learns what Cassius has had to sell to earn the money for their new lifestyle. As Cassius continues his meteoric rise, he catches the eye of the company's obnoxious cocaine-snorting CEO, played by the normally charming Armie Hammer (Call Me By Your Name), and things quickly spiral towards an unimaginable end. Riley puts his stamp on the film with surrealist fanaticism and an unforgettable soundtrack from his own band The Coup to create a cinematic experience you won't soon forget.
Rapper/producer Boots Riley has been politically active since he was fourteen years old. Born in Chicago, Illinois (as Raymond Lawrence Riley) and raised in Oakland, CA, Riley joined the communist party and worked as an organizer in housing projects and farmworker communities. Inspired by the group Public Enemy, Riley founded the political hip-hop group the Coup in 1991 and the Street Sweeper Social Club in 2006. Between both groups, Riley has collaborated on ten albums and EPs. Sorry to Bother You is his feature film debut.
Sponsored by Alaska Airlines, Brotherton Cadillac Buick GMC in Renton, Red Element Studios
- Director: Boots Riley
- Principal Cast: Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Steven Yeun, Jermaine Fowler, Armie Hammer, Omari Hardwick, David Cross, Danny Glover
- Premiere Status: Seattle
- Country: USA
- Year: 2018
- Running Time: 120 minutes
- Producer: Nina Yang Bongiovi, Forrest Whitaker, Charles King, George Rush, Jonathan Duffy, Kelly Williams
- Screenplay: Boots Riley
- Cinematographers: Doug Emmett
- Editors: Terel Gibson
- Music: Tune-Yards, The Coup
- Website: Official Film Website
- Filmography: Debut Feature Film
- Language: English
- Format: DCP
- US Distributor: Annapurna Pictures
- International Sales: Endeavor Content