The Sundance Institute announced Tuesday that it's honoring Boots Riley, the Oakland rapper-turned-director behind the sci-fi film Sorry To Bother You, with the Vanguard Award for emerging artists.
Sorry to Bother You is Riley's directorial debut, and the award puts him in company with previous winners Dee Rees, director of Mudbound; and Birth Of A Nation director Nate Parker.
Riley's film gets its nationwide release on July 6 and critics are already describing it as "the most surreal, important sci-fi movie in years." Starring Lakeith Stanfield (Get Out) and Tessa Thompson (Creed, Selma), the film follows an African-American telemarketer in Oakland who becomes successful after developing a white accent.
Before making Sorry To Bother You, 47-year-old Riley was best known as a rapper with the Coup and the Street Sweeper Social Club.