Boots Riley, Oakland’s legendary rapper, filmmaker and Occupy Oakland Leader, wins “Best First Feature” at the Film Independent Spirit Awards in Los Angeles for his much-talked about movie Sorry To Bother You. The award also listed Sorry To Bother You Producers: Nina Yang Bongiovi, Jonathan Duffy, Charles D. King, George Rush, Forest Whitaker, and Kelly Williams.
— IFC (@IFC) February 23, 2019
The description of Sorry To Bother You spells a movie that’s as much about Oakland’s present day collectively complicated gentrification / anti-gentrification mindset as it is the man who contributed to it: “In an alternate reality of present-day Oakland, Calif., telemarketer Cassius Green finds himself in a macabre universe after he discovers a magical key that leads to material glory. As Green’s career begins to take off, his friends and co-workers organize a protest against corporate oppression. Cassius soon falls under the spell of Steve Lift, a cocaine-snorting CEO who offers him a salary beyond his wildest dreams.”
Here’s Raymond Lawrence “Boots” Riley’s speech during Saturday’s Film Independent Spirit Awards, and the Hollywood Reporter interview afterward:
— MACRO (@stayMACRO) February 24, 2019
“Sorry To Bother You” Turned A Profit
Lost in the more controversial stories that the media seems to want to tell about Mr. Riley is the fact that Sorry To Bother You turned a profit: it cost $3.2 million to make, yet earned $18 million at the box office. Sorry To Bother You made 5.6 times what it cost to produce it. Congratulations to Mr. Riley, who has another movie deal signed.
According to Pitchfork, Riley, the Sorry to Bother You director, signed a “blind script” deal with Annapurna Pictures, the makers of If Beale Street Could Talk, for which Regina King took home the 2019 Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
Boots Riley, The Occupy Oakland Leader, Turns Ideology Into Art
In 2011, Mr. Riley, who’s Sorry To Bother You movie was also nominated for Best Screenplay at the Spirit Awards, was known as an artist and a leader in the “Occupy Oakland” movement. Riley’s ideas can be understood in this Zennie62 on YouTube video-blog made by then-vlogger Bev Rivas:
Art imitates life.