‘Fruitvale,’ a Drama About Oscar Grant, Unarmed Black Man Killed at Oakland BART Station, Wins Big at Sundance

Fruitvale Oscar Grant story
‘Fruitvale,’ a Drama About Oscar Grant, Unarmed Black Man Killed at Oakland BART Station, Wins Big at Sundance

Fruitvale” scored big at the Sundance Film Festival, winning the Grand Jury and Audience Awards Saturday. “Fruitvale” is a drama based on the life of Oscar Grant, the unarmed black man who was fatally shot at an Oakland BART station by officer Johannes Mehserle. The film, which is produced by Forest Whitaker, is the first feature-length production from Ryan Coogler, a USC School of Cinematic Arts graduate. “Fruitvale” stars Michael B. Jordan and Octavia Spencer. According to Entertainment Weekly, Ryan Coogler’s life has changed because of the film and he’s now a man in demand in Hollywood:

There was the standing ovation at the MARC Theater in Park City. There were the hugs and tears from Grant’s family members who attended the premiere. And then there was the avalanche of business cards from industry titans and wannabes who see Coogler as Sundance’s latest wunderkind, this year’s Benh Zeitlin (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”).

Coogler was the same age as Grant and living in the Bay Area when the 22-year-old was shot in the Fruitvale Bay Area Rapid Transit station in Oakland, and he remembers the community outrage, especially since shocked New Year’s Eve revelers recorded the shooting with their cellphones and quickly uploaded it to the Internet. When Whitaker took an interest in Coogler’s fledgling film career and asked for ideas, the young auteur quickly pitched Grant’s story. The Oscar winner signed-off on the spot, and before long, Coogler was presiding over a hometown production starring Michael B. Jordon (“Friday Night Lights”)  as Oscar and Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer as his worried mother.

Watch the trailer for “Fruitvale:”

  • Janet:

    Have you ever stepped back and did a “macro view” of your content?

    You are relegated into publishing:

    1) Murder and Mayhem – particularly within the Black community

    2) Ignorance said by the Right Wing

    3) A “Fan Girl” for Obama

    Where is the CONNECTEDNESS on your way to a SOLUTION (for the Black community)?

    Are the words of injury received from the right wing going to mitigate the violence/murder, educational and economic issues within the Black community Janet – OR does it merely prove to be a soothing affirmation of what you believe?

    Likewise does a “Strong Obama The GOP Fighter” prove any different than Atlanta, Philly, Chicago or Newark where there IS NO REPUBLICAN THREAT to speak of BUT the BLACK COMMUNITY is still plagued with the same problems that POLITICS were to fix or remediate?

    Oscar Grant’s tale where a man in police custody was a victim of manslauter by a transit cop is indeed a compelling backdrop for a message movie. As a defender of the 1st Amendment – i have no problem with the filmmakers motives.

    I DO KNOW, however, that the monopoly majority means by which young Black males who get killed are of no cinematic interest to the film makers because so many of them die senselessly.

    I hope that you will one day see, however, that THEY DIE IN SILENCE largely because of the VOID IN GOVERNANCE that is present within their community – the force who was chartered to develop CONSCIOUSNESS AND CHARACTER within – are instead running political opportunism and are more focused on what their right wing enemy is doing.