Bay Area resident filmmaker Ryan Coogler, 27, was a nightclub bouncer was inspired to make his first feature when he heard that a young, unarmed black man, by the name of Oscar Grant, was shot dead in front of scores of New Year Eve revelers on the platform of BART's Fruitvale local train station. Instead of a documentary, investigating the controversial fatal shooting by a white policeman, Coogler's "subtle" independent movie focuses on the victim's flawed life and the people and relationships he left behind.

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