22nd Calgary Underground Film Festival

April 17-27, 2025

12th CUFF.Docs Documentary Film Festival

November 20-24, 2024


Canada, 2023: 122 minutes: Alberta Premiere
Archives 2023
Special Guest!
In Cinema Globe Cinema
Sun, Apr 23 6:00 PM Buy


BLACKBERRY tells the story of Mike Lazaridis (Jay Baruchel, CUFF 2020 selection RANDOM ACTS OF VIOLENCE) and Jim Balsillie (Glenn Howerton, IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA), the two men that charted the course of the spectacular rise and catastrophic demise of the world’s first smartphone.

Every era has its visionaries, and BLACKBERRY, co-written by Director Matt Johnson and Producer Matthew Miller (both with OPERATION AVALANCHE, THE DIRTIES), investigates the brilliance of the individuals that invented the smartphone. Recounting the Canadian company’s humble yet chaotic rise to market dominance, BLACKBERRY, is a darkly comedic telling of the tragic tale of a Canadian company that revolutionized the way we communicate, before swiftly plummeting into obsolescence.

It’s 1996, and Mike Lazaridis and his business partner and best friend Douglas Fregin (Matt Johnson) are on the edge of creating the world’s first smartphone. Unfortunately for them, they are less business savvy than they are tech, and struggle to keep their company, Research in Motion, afloat. Everything changes when cunning business man Jim Balsillie agrees to join the company, bringing with him the money and experience needed to create and sell a prototype of their invention. Seemingly overnight the three men revolutionize the way people work, communicate and connect. The company's value skyrockets, yet within a few short years shady business dealings, personal grievances, and, perhaps most dangerously, the iPhone, threaten the company’s incredible success.

Born in Toronto, Matt Johnson is the director of THE DIRTIES (2013), OPERATION AVALANCHE (2016), and BLACKBERRY (2023). He is also a cocreator of the cult comedy series NIRVANNA THE BAND THE SHOW (2017-19). As an actor, he has appeared in ANNE AT 1,300 FEET (2020) and MATT AND MARA (2023). He teaches in the film department at York University alongside his producing partner, Matthew Miller (1980).

press for Blackberry

"Johnson has a keen affection for his subjects, imbuing the material with humour and snappy pacing which keeps the audience on their toes."
- Little White Lies
"Matt Johnson’s riotous new film is an instant Canadian classic."
- The Globe and Mail


Narrative / Comedy / Drama / Biography

122 minutes

special guest

Screenwriter & Producer Matthew Miller & Cinematographer Jared Raab in attendance for Q&A


Matt Johnson

Matt Johnson
Matthew Miller

Executive Producers
Jay McCarrol
Robert Upchurch

Niv Fichman
Matthew Miller
Fraser Ash
Kevin Krikst

Jared Raab

Jay Baruchel
Glenn Howerton
Matt Johnson
Rich Sommer
Michael Ironside
Saul Rubinek
Cary Elwes



WINNER: Audience Award: Best Narrative Feature