In an interview with Diablo Magazine, former Saint Mary's student and "Fruitvale Station" director, Ryan Coogler gives a shout out to English Professor Rosemary Graham.
In the interview Coogler discusses the film, which tells the story of the tragic killing of Oscar Grant, an Oakland resident who while in police custody, unarmed and handcuffed, was shot to death by a BART police officer on New Years Day in 2009. Coogler's gripping film won the Sundance Film festival's top prizes, the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award for U.S. Dramatic film, in January.
Coogler also talks about how his filmmaking journey began when he was attending SMC on a football scholarship. He recalls taking a creative writing class with Graham, where he wrote about the time his father almost bled to death in his arms. Graham was impressed with his vivid writing style and encouraged him to pursue screenwriting. Even after SMC dropped its football program, and Coogler transferred to Sacramento State, Graham remained a mentor and friend.
The San Francisco Chronicle article "Ryan Coogler and the 'Fruitvale Station' effect," also notes Graham's ability to recognize the budding creativity of Coogler while he was a student at SMC.
Graham recently attended the Oakland screening of the film at the Grand Lake Theater and said Fruitvale Station was "devastating and gorgeous." She also said it was amazing to hear Academy Award wining actor Forrest Whitaker, the film's producer, talk about the "visionary filmmaker" she met as a 17 year old freshman.
The talented young director also spoke with Filmmaker Magazine about his Saint Mary's connections in a story about the film.
Fruitvale Station opens in Bay Area theaters on July 12 and nationwide soonafter.