US Narrative Competition

World Premiere

FEATURE | United States | 78 MINUTES | English |


Women, Music, Mystery

Tierra Whack first gained recognition at the age of 15 when she stunned viewers with her slick poetry while rapping for a YouTube channel on a Philadelphia street. The video rapidly drew thousands of views and marked the first of Tierra's many performances for the camera. Years later, director Chris Moukarbel begins documenting her astronomical rise, going behind the scenes of concerts and music videos as she navigates fame and receives exalted praise from stars like Erykah Badu and Billie Eilish. One night, after a particularly tiring set, a seemingly innocuous fan interaction begins a series of increasingly unsettling events that swirl around Tierra and her team — even following them to Dubai. They soon start questioning who is filming whom and whether being seen (or watched) is a desirable and unavoidable part of fame. 

Cypher is a visually rich, self-aware, and captivating artistic showcase that opens as many doors of perception as it closes. Weaving together different aesthetics and highlighting the strangeness that surrounds the music industry, Moukarbel's filmmaking convinces the viewer to happily follow him down a warren of rabbit holes. It's a riveting, intricate story, but who is telling it?––Jarod Neece

In Person

Fri June 09 - 6:00 PM
Closed Captions available, Audio Descriptions available

Sat June 10 - 6:15 PM
Closed Captions available, Audio Descriptions available

Mon June 12 - 9:30 PM
Closed Captions available, Audio Descriptions available

*Rush Tickets available at venue except for Beacon Theatre
Rush will be offered when advanced tickets for a screening or event are no longer available at venues other than Beacon Theatre. The Rush system functions as a standby line that will form at the venue approximately one hour prior to scheduled start time. Admittance is based on availability and will begin roughly 10 minutes prior to program start time. Rush Tickets are the same price as advance tickets and are payable upon entry.

Co-hosted by:


Directed by Chris Moukarbel

Chris Moukarbel
Tony Hernandez, Lilly Burns, John Hodges, Tierra Whack, Sanjay M. Sharma, Roya Rastegar, Anthony Seyler, Chris Moukarbel
Chris Moukarbel
Matt Klammer
Ezra Paek
Executive Producer
Natalia-Leigh Brown, Johnny Montina, Kenete Simms, Jake Fuller
Tierra Whack