Sorry to Bother You / Doug Emmett

Episode #89

Sorry to Bother You / Doug Emmett


Cinematographer Doug Emmett discusses this surreal dystopian satire, in which a struggling African-American who finds success as a telemarketer when he’s tipped off by a savvy coworker to use his “white voice.”

Unit photography by Peter Prato

Written and directed by Boots Riley (best known as the front man of the hip-hop group The Coup), the dystopian, dark, surreal satire Sorry to Bother You premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. 

Set in Oakland, Calif., the story trails Cassius “Cash” Green (Lakeith Stanfield), a struggling African-American who finds success as a telemarketer when he’s tipped off by a savvy coworker (Danny Glover) to use his “white voice” (performed by David Cross), stripping away his sense of self to achieve upward mobility. 

After Green is asked to do some unsavory things with his newfound sales skills, he soon finds that this is a mixed blessing, as his boss (Armie Hammer) intends to exploit his talents as a part of a twisted plot that will have workers physically transformed into literal beasts of burden.

The project was shot largely on practical locations in Oakland during the summer of 2017, using Alexa Mini cameras and Cooke anamorphic lenses.

About the Cinematographer

Doug Emmett is an East Coast native and a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. His work has screened at multiple film festivals, including Sundance, Toronto, Tribeca and Cannes. Emmett is a member of both IATSE Local 600 and the Directors Guild of America and represented by United Talent Agency.

His other credits include the features 28 Hotel Rooms, Monogamy, The To Do List, Paranormal Activity 4, Damsels in Distress, Bachelorette, The Remaining, Alex of Venice, The Edge of Seventeen and Thumper, and the HBO series Togetherness and Room 104. He recently shot the pilot to the ABC cop series The Rookie.

You’ll find Emmett’s personal site here.

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