Film About the Shooting Death of Oscar Grant Wins Top Prize at Sundance Film Festival

A film about the final day of Oscar Grant III's life won over audiences and judges alike at this year's Sundance Film Festival.

"Fruitvale" depicts the true story of Grant, who was 22 years old when he was shot and killed by a police officer at Oakland's Fruitvale BART station early New Year's Day in 2009. First-time filmmaker Ryan Coogler wrote and directed the dramatic narrative.

"This project 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," the 26-year-old said Saturday as he accepted the final prize of the night, the U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic. "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."

Fox Searchlight founder and Sundance juror Tom Rothman said "Fruitvale" was recognized for "its skillful realization, its devastating emotional impact and its moral and social urgency -- and for anyone out there who thinks for one second that movies don't matter and can't make a difference in the world."

The film also won the Audience Award for best drama. Earlier in the festival, the Weinstein Co. acquired the rights to distribute "Fruitvale."

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SOURCE: San Francisco Examiner
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