July 18, 2013

Sundance Film Festival Winner ‘Fruitvale Station’ Q&A With Director Ryan Coogler

charmaine ward - ryan coogler - q&a 2

Yesterday, the director of Fruitvale StationRyan Coogler – made a stop in Atlanta promoting his award-winning film that chronicles the final moments of Bay Area resident Oscar Grant. After a full day of interviews, Coogler greeted guests of a private screening at Regal Atlantic Station hosted by a collective of civic organizations: the Urban League of Greater Atlanta Young Professionals (repped by President Ciji Tatum and VP Cherie Greene), the Emerging 100 (attended by President Kevin Gooch), Atlanta Business League “TheBridge” (attended by Director Nicholas Gowens) and the National Black MBA Association Atlanta (repped by former President Charmaine Ward). Moderated by Ward, the post-screening Q&A featured a humble, 27-year old Coogler who detailed how he got into the movie business, the individuals who inspire him (his parents), and why he chose to depict Oscar Grant’s story on the big screen. “I’m from the Bay Area like Oscar,” said Coogler. “His story could’ve been my story.”


Winner of both the Grand Jury Prize for dramatic feature and the Audience Award for U.S. dramatic film at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, director Ryan Coogler’s FRUITVALE STATION follows the true story of Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan), a 22-year-old Bay Area resident who wakes up on the morning of December 31, 2008 and feels something in the air. Not sure what it is, he takes it as a sign to get a head start on his resolutions: being better son to his mother (Octavia Spencer), whose birthday falls on New Year’s Eve, being a better partner to his girlfriend Sophina (Melonie Diaz), who he hasn’t been completely honest with as of late, and being a better father to Tatiana (Ariana Neal), their beautiful four year-old daughter. Crossing paths with friends, family and strangers, Oscar starts out well, as the day goes on, he realizes that changes are not going to come easily. His resolve takes a tragic turn, however, when BART (public transportation) officers shoot him in cold blood at the Fruitvale subway stop on New Year’s Day. Oscar’s life and tragic death would shake the Bay Area – and the entire nation – to its very core. This amazing film is produced by Academy Award winner Forest Whittaker.

Fruitvale Station opens in Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, D.C., Houston and more this Friday, July 19 and everywhere on July 26. For specific theaters, visit

Nicholas Gowens (Atlanta Business Leage "The Bridge"), Charmaine Ward (National Black MBA Association Atlanta), Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station director), Cherie Greene (Urban League of Greater Atlanta Young Professionals), Kevin Gooch (the Emerging 100)

Nicholas Gowens (Atlanta Business Leage “The Bridge”), Charmaine Ward (National Black MBA Association Atlanta), Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station director), Cherie Greene (Urban League of Greater Atlanta Young Professionals), Kevin Gooch (the Emerging 100)

Packed house

Packed house

Nicholas Gowan (Atlanta Business League "The Bridge") pictured with publisher Kim G.

Nicholas Gowan (Atlanta Business League “The Bridge”) pictured with publisher Kim G.

RL from R&B group 'Next' with Lena Chenier

RL from R&B group ‘Next’ with Lena Chenier

Photos: Jazmyne Simmons

About the Author

Kim Ford
Kim Ford is the founder & publisher of, author of "The Success Mindset", a God-inspired media mogul, speaker, red carpet correspondent, culture influencer, super mom and your ideal best friend. She's interviewed greats like Tyler Perry, Sony Pictures exec DeVon Franklin, Meagan Good, Mali Music, Kevin Hart, Jada Pinkett Smith, T.D. Jakes and more. You've probably seen her covering the red carpet at the BET Awards, Soul Train Awards and many others. You can always find her bringing faith to mainstream and empowering women! To learn more about Kim, click here. #TeamLove #TeamStrongFamilies #TeamiPhone