Movies like Sorry to Bother You and Blindspotting, set in the city and made by local directors, have brought global attention to a hub of art and activism
The film-maker Nijla Mu’min’s debut movie was based on her upbringing as a black Muslim girl in Oakland, California. Although Jinn was inspired by their own lives, she had to go to Los Angeles, 350 miles south of her hometown, to shoot it.
Mu’min said there wasn’t enough industry support to stimulate filming in Oakland financially sustainable. But now that’s changing.
The northern California city is having its Hollywood moment this month with the release of two acclaimed movies made by Oaklanders and set in their hometown. Sorry to Bother You, the debut film of the musician Boots Riley, offers a satirical anti-capitalist portrait of labor exploitation, protest motions and American racism. Blindspotting stars the locals Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal, who co-wrote the dark comedy about police violence and gentrification.
Following the extraordinary success of Black Panther, directed by the Oakland native Ryan Coogler and partly set in his hometown, the city is attracting global attention, seen as a complex cultural hub where art, activism and inequality intersect.
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