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2013-01-28

Fruitvale, Depiction of Oscar Grant’s Last Day of Life, Takes Top Prizes at Sundance Film Festival

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"Fruitvale" tells the story of Oscar Grant, the 22-year-old Bay Area resident who was shot dead by a transit police officer in Oakland on New Year’s Day in 2009. On Saturday, the film won both the U.S. Grand Jury Prize for dramatic film and the Audience Award for U.S. dramatic film at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah. First-time, 26-year-old director Ryan Coogler accepted the prizes at the Sundance awards ceremony. [includes rush transcript]

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: A dramatic film portraying the last day of Oscar Grant’s life won top honors at the Sundance Film Festival. Directed by first-time filmmaker, 26-year-old Ryan Coogler, Fruitvale tells the story of Oscar Grant, the 22-year-old Bay Area resident who was shot dead by a transit police officer in Oakland New Year’s Day 2009. The film begins with real cellphone footage of the police shooting, then dramatically retells the last hours of Grant’s life. This is a clip from Fruitvale, when Grant speaks with his mother about his plans for New Year’s Eve.

WANDA JOHNSON: [played by Octavia Spencer] You guys got plans for the night?

OSCAR GRANT: [played by Michael B. Jordan] Yeah, nothing major, though. I meet up with the fellas, head out to the city.

WANDA JOHNSON: [played by Octavia Spencer] Why don’t you take the train out there? That way you guys can drink and hang out and not have to worry about anything.

OSCAR GRANT: [played by Michael B. Jordan] I feel like getting over there and getting back; I don’t feel like waiting on no train.

WANDA JOHNSON: [played by Octavia Spencer] No traffic, either, you know? You know it’s going to be crazy going and coming back.

OSCAR GRANT: [played by Michael B. Jordan] We might take it.

AMY GOODMAN: An excerpt from the film Fruitvale, which won both the U.S. Grand Jury Prize for dramatic film as well as the Audience Award for U.S. dramatic film at Sundance. Ryan Coogler accepted the prizes at an award ceremony Saturday night.

RYAN COOGLER: At the end of the day, when I first wrote this project, first made this project, it was about humanity, about human beings and how we treat each other, how we treat the people that we love the most and how we treat the people that we don’t know. I mean, to get this award means that that had a profound impact on the audience that saw it, on the people that were responsible for putting it out. And this goes back to my home, to the Bay Area, where Oscar Grant lived, breathed, slept, loved, fought, had fun and survived for 22 years. I take this award home, and I hope that y’all take this award home with you guys, as well. And I can’t wait to see y’all after this is all said and done, when I’m a little more articulate and not so emotional.

AMY GOODMAN: Ryan Coogler, the director of Fruitvale_. You can go to our website at democracynow.org to see on">our full interview with Ryan Coogler.

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