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Fruitvale: Film About Oscar Grant Wins Top Prizes at Sundance

Oakland Local

Ryan Coogler accepting the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance on January 26.

Everyone probably knows by now that Fruitvale, the first movie by born and bred Oaklander Ryan Coogler, won two major prizes for a new film at Sundance, beating out all the other films. According to Entertainment Weekly, Fruitvale became the first Sundance film to win the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award for U.S. Dramatic film since Precious in 2009.

Coogler, an Oakland native, reportedly went into film to tell the stories of real people and his movie about Oscar Grant and his family focuses on Grant’s last 24 hours alive, during which he tries to  become a better father, a better boyfriend, and a better son and friend.

Coogler made a speech to the assembly when he accepted the Grand Jury Prize, saying " “I’d like to thank all of those people again. David Lowery, stand up for me man. We formed crazy relationships with people in the labs, and at this festival. At the end of the day, when I first made this project, it was about humanity, and how we treat the people we love most and the people we don’t know. To get this means that this film made a powerful impact. This goes back to my home, the Bay area, where Oscar Grant lived for 22 years. I can’t wait to see you all when this is said and done and I’m more articulate and not so emotional.”

In July, Coogler told Filmmaker magazine, “I saw the riots and the frustration [following the shooting], and they didn’t have an effect. If I can get two hours of people’s time, I can affect them more than if they threw a trash can through a window.”

At Sundance The Weinstein Co. acquired the film, in a deal supposedly worth $2 million.  Much of the film was shot in July 2012 around Oakland, and Oscar Grant's family supported the project, Michael B. Jordan ("The Wire," "Friday Night Lights") plays Grant in the film and Octavia Spencer ("The Help") plays his mother.

Source: Oakland Local []

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