Oakland's a Riot as Film Set for Alum Boots Riley, Director

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE -- Riley, 46, is best known as an activist and the frontman of the hip-hop groups the Coup and Street Sweeper Social Club, but before his musical career took off, there was film, which he studied at San Francisco State.

In 2016, he was among the directors chosen for the Sundance Directors Lab. Closer to home, Riley received a residency at the San Francisco Film Society’s FilmHouse, and “Sorry to Bother You” is the recipient of a $25,000 grant from the Film Society and the Kenneth Rainin Foundation.

He also has put together an all-star cast, who have agreed to cut their usual fees for the modest production — including Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Omari Hardwick, Steven Yeun, Terry Crews, Jermaine Fowler and Armie Hammer. The film also has attracted a host of producers, including Significant Productions, the partnership between Nina Yang Bongiovi and Forest Whitaker that began when they came to the Bay Area to make Ryan Coogler’s “Fruitvale Station.”