First time writer/director Ryan Coogler’s independent drama “Fruitvale Station” opens for a limited theatrical release Friday, coinciding with the closing arguments of the George Zimmerman trial.
The highly-anticipated film, which won top jury and audience prizes at the Sundance Film Festival this year, is based on the true life tale of the hours leading up to the death of 22-year-old black Oakland man Oscar Grant, who was shot dead by a BART police officer on New Year’s 2009 despite being unarmed and having committed no crime. The transit officer who shot Grant claimed was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, which sparked riots in the Bay area, which some fear could be repeated depending on the Zimmerman verdict.
The Zimmerman trial has indeed become a promotional point for the film. A marketing photo uploaded to the movie’s Facebook page features a still image from the film of actor Michael B. Jordan, who plays Grant, illuminated with a quote from Coogler:
“Anytime someone’s life is lost and there’s an inkling of politics involved, that person is not around to defend himself and his character gets pulled in different directions depending on what side of the fence you sit on,” the quote reads. “We saw it happen with Trayvon Martin, and it shows no signs of slowing down.”