Oakland takes center stage in two buzzed-about movies debuting at the Sundance Film Festival.
“Blindspotting,” an edgy comedy starring and co-written by Oakland native Daveed Diggs (a Tony Award-winner for “Hamilton”) was one of the famed festival’s opening night screenings Thursday. Diggs told the Associated Press the film was drawn from his experiences growing up in Oakland and by what is going on there now. It focuses on an Oakland man who is trying to finish out his probation period without getting into further trouble, as he and his friend deal with gentrification, racism, police violence and more. “Blindspotting” was co-written by and co-stars Diggs’ longtime friend and collaborator Rafael Casal. It was directed by Carlos Lopez Estrada, marking his feature film debut.
The film drew generally positive reviews. Variety called it “the most exciting cinematic take on contemporary race relations since ‘Do the Right Thing,’” while Los Angeles Times writer Tre’vell Anderson praised its response to #BlackLivesMatter and the financial pressures plaguing cities like Oakland.
Just walked out of #BLINDSPOTTING. I loved it. Beautifully captures the enduring effects of police overuse of power on black folks while commenting on a changing (gentrifying) Oakland.
And @DaveedDiggs’ bars and delivery… GRIPPING!
— Tre’vell Anderson (@TrevellAnderson) January 19, 2018
Meanwhile, the feature film debut by Oakland musician, activist and filmmaker Boots Riley is slated to premiere Saturday at Sunday.
“Sorry to Bother You” is described as a sci-fi comedy set in a present-day (but very strange) Oakland in which a telemarketer (Lakeith Stanfield) achieves sudden and baffling success at work. Tessa Thompson and Armie Hammer (as the company’s orgy-loving CEO) co-star. The New York Times called it one of five movies to watch at the festival.
Boots Riley was filming “Sorry to Bother You” in downtown Oakland in July.” …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment