SACRAMENTO- An independent film making headlines coast to coast, opened to big awards at Sundance. What many people don't realize is that it was written and produced by a Sacramento State University graduate.
"Fruitvale Station" recounts the 24 hours before New Year's Day 2009, the morning Oscar Grant, a young black man, was shot to death by a BART police officer. BART police say the officer mistook his firearm for a Taser.
"Fruitvale Station" opens in theaters Friday. But, dozens of people got a sneak peak at a special screening in Sacramento Tuesday night.
The writer and director, 27-year-old Ryan Coogler, made a special appearance at the screening. Coogler is a Sac State alum who also played on the hornets football team.
Coogler says Grant's story needed to be told.
"He's an African American man who's life was cut short as a result of gun violence. I think that's common thing that's going on right now. A lot of young black men are dying in the streets."
The movie's release coincides with the recent acquittal of George Zimmerman for the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
"I don't think anybody could have predicted us releasing this film at this time," said Coogler. "The fact that the film is being released in this climate, I think it could definitely bring more attention to it."
Coogler believes the movie will help fuel discussions.
"It was so well written, so well put together, produced," said Azizza Davis Goines, the President/CEO of the Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce. "In light of that current events, I think this is absolutely going to spur that dialogue."
Movie goer Dave Soto said, "It was sad, but it was a great movie."
Fruitvale Station is currently playing in select cities but will be released in theaters nationwide this Friday.
By Suzanne Phan, email@example.com