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Boots Riley's directing debut, 'Sorry To Bother You,' is a surreal satire about race

Boots Riley, writer/director of the film,
Boots Riley, writer/director of the film, "Sorry To Bother You."
Photo by Tony Chu

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Anyone familiar with Boots Riley's hip-hop group, The Coup, knows he isn't afraid to get political with his music. His first feature film is no different. 

“Sorry to Bother You,” written and directed by Riley, is largely set inside a telemarketing firm in Oakland, where a local ad campaign pitches a service called “Worry-Free Living.”

A salesman, played by “Get Out” and “Atlanta” actor Lakeith Stanfield, discovers an unusual way of connecting to white customers — and then things get really weird.

Riley grew up in Oakland, where he became politically active at a young age. He was an outspoken voice during Occupy Oakland in 2011, around the time he was writing "Sorry To Bother You."

We caught up with Riley shortly after he premiered the film at Sundance in January 2018. He talked about his film education and the not-so-strange timelessness of the story in "Sorry To Bother You."

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