The rise of Cooper Raiff continues following the buzzy Sundance and then Apple TV+ debuts of his feature film “Cha Cha Real Smooth” this year. Also in 2022, the “Shithouse” director announced a new film, “The Trashers,” starring David Harbour and Cooper Hoffmann, and launched production company Small Ideas with former Black Bear Pictures executive Clementine Quittner.
The outfit will aim to develop and produce independent film and television projects from emerging filmmakers and creators, as well as writer-director Raiff’s own work. The first project at Small Ideas will be an undisclosed TV series written, directed, and produced by Raiff, with Quittner also producing.
“Cha Cha” was released by Apple TV+ on June 17 but remains in the mix for fall screenplay kudos. Raiff directs, writes, and stars in this low-key comedy about a 22-year-old named Andrew in a post-undergrad slump, and with no clear life path forward. Co-stars include Dakota Johnson (also a producer on the film), Leslie Mann, Raúl Castillo, Vanessa Burghardt, and Evan Assante.
Raiff told IndieWire back at Sundance that the movie was very much related to his own experience in his 20s. “My 20s are very much like Andrew’s own 20s. It’s the time when you have to start your own parties, so I wanted to write a character who is not good at that. He’s great at setting other people’s parties. And I relate to that.”
From IndieWire’s review, “In less capable hands, this material could easily devolve into an absolute orgy of cringe, but Raiff infuses such legible emotional honesty into every scene that ‘Cha Cha Real Smooth’ becomes as comfortable to watch as Andrew is to know (it’s telling that one of the movie’s funniest moments comes when Andrew does a spectacularly bad job of telling a lie). The writer-director’s range as an actor has yet to be tested, but no one more completely embodies the wide-eyed vulnerability of a wayward twentysomething who was born without the filter that keeps most of us at a slight remove from the rest of the world.”
You can read Raiff’s screenplay for the film, which earned the Audience Award at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, via IndieWire here.