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Interview: Ryan Coogler – Fruitvale Station

Interview: Ryan Coogler – Fruitvale Station

It’s how he presents his flawed characters and how he addresses certain social commentaries in his trio of short films (Locks, Gap, and Fig) that underline the sort of M.O. and filmic sensibility this Bay area resident would possibly employ in the first drafts of his Sundance supported screenplay. Naturally gravitating towards a subject he knew well, but yet in the same token undertook one that was tricky, and was the unavoidably difficult challenge of detailing Oscar Grant’s final moments in a palpable, evocative, truthful manner. Book-ended with a raw, forceful beginning and conclusion, with Fruitvale Station we find filmmaker Ryan Coogler delve into racial profiling, reflectin on the importance of family and making the best of a second chance that life doesn’t always afford us.

I had the chance to sit down with the former youth counselor, former USC film student filmmaker in Park City hours before the Weinsteins announced that they picked up the title, and only days after a wild reception at the film’s world premiere screening at the MARC (here is the buzz-filled premiere that drew plenty of applause). In the interview below we discussed how he found his subject, how he found his lead, some of the narrative the visual strategies he utilized. Starring Michael B. Jordan, Octavia Spencer and Melonie Diaz, TWC released the drama in NYC, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and will open it wide on July 26th.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist and critic at (founded in 2000). Eric is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson's This Teacher (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022 he served as a New Flesh Comp for Best First Feature at the 2022 Fantasia Intl. Film Festival. Current top films for 2022 include Tár (Todd Field), All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen), Aftersun (Charlotte Wells).

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