Oscar Grant movie screening held in Oakland

June 20, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The movie "Fruitvale Station" screened for the first time in the Bay Area Thursday night. The film focuses on Oscar Grant -- the unarmed passenger shot to death by a BART police officer on New Year's Day 2009. All of it caught on cellphone camera. The movie centers on the last day of Grant's life.

We got to see the people behind "Fruitvale Station". The special screening drew hundreds of people to Oakland's Grand Lake Theater.

The movie's about Grant's last day. The 22-year-old was unarmed when he was shot and killed by a BART police officer on New Year's Day four years ago.

Actress Octavia Spencer plays Grant's mother. She said, "It just seemed the lives of young men of color felt very expendable and I felt like we had to examine that."

"Fruitvale Station" received high praise at the Sundance film festival earlier this year. Richmond resident Ryan Coogler, 27, wrote and directed it. He says the movie is based on public records and interviews with Grant's friends and family. Input from the officers was never considered.

"What happens on the platform and the officers' role in the film is a very small part of the project. The majority of the film is about this man's life," said Coogler.

The director insists the movie doesn't glorify Grant, just tries to humanize him. Grant was a father, son, and boyfriend who, according to the film, was trying to put his criminal past behind him.

"What was it like playing Oscar Grant? It was challenging. He was very layered. He was a very complex, young man," said actor Michael B. Jordan.

Grant's uncle and mother say it was emotional watching the film. Childhood friend Nigel Bryson says it was tough on him too. He was on the BART platform that fateful night.

"The end was like going through it all over again you know, so it was hard, but I deal with it," said Bryson.

"Fruitvale Station" will open in the Bay Area, New York and L.A. on July 12th. It opens nationwide, two weeks later.


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