Yesterday, the director of Fruitvale Station – Ryan 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 www.FruitvaleFilm.com.
Photos: Jazmyne Simmons