In 2018 we’re beginning to see a new renaissance that finds Oakland films hitting the big screen & having success. Oakland filmmakers have been taking Hollywood by storm, first with the February release of Marvel’s Black Panther which was directed by Oakland/Richmond native Ryan Coogler. As of May 22nd, 2018 the film has gross 1.34 Billion dollars (yes with a B that’s no typo), making it the 3rd highest grossing film ever released in US history. Black Panther was only the tip of the iceberg as far as films coming from Bay Area filmmakers.
The next film to come out of Oakland was Sorry To Bother You directed by Boots Riley who’s a member of the legendary rap group The Coup. Sorry To Bother You stars Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson & Omari Hardwick. Riley uses the film to critique capitalism & highlight some of the methods people of color use to assimilate in such a system. The movie also provides contrasting perspectives from each character, show how each of them is affected by capitalism and what they do in response to it. Everything isn’t what it seems in this movie as it has a sci-fi plot twist in the end. It’s a brilliant film I’d recommend watching.
Daveed Diggs & Rafael Casal co-wrote & star in the new film Blindspotting. Blindspotting entertainingly highlights the demographic change occurring in Oakland with gentrification & the intersection of race and class at the center of the film’s plot. The movie finds Daveed Diggs playing the role of Collin, an ex-con trying to get on the straight & legit path but Miles, his best friend played by Rafael Casal, keeps bringing him back into the life, which makes Diggs character question rather they should still be friends at all.
We here at Thizzler are excited to see local filmmakers making big plays in Hollywood & we hope it’s only the beginning of a new wave of movies from artists that tell the stories of what is going on in the Bay.