UPDATE: We’re thrilled that Fruitvale was awarded the Grand Jury Prize and won the Audience Award for U.S. dramatic film at the Sundance Film Festival awards ceremony on Saturday night. It’s is also the first Sundance film to win both awards since the 2009 premiere of Precious. Congratulations to Time Warner Foundation Fellow Ryan Coogler on his directorial debut and well deserved success.

January 22: Time Warner Foundation Fellow Ryan Coogler premiered his film Fruitvale at Sundance on Saturday, January 19, to an overwhelming response of rave audience reviews and critical acclaim. The film, which premiered as part of Sundance’s U.S. Dramatic Competition, sparked an aggressive bidding war amongst studios and distributors, and was ultimately picked up by The Weinstein Company.

Fruitvale tells the true story of the 2009 shooting of Oscar Grant by police in Oakland, sparking mass protests against police brutality. The film follows Grant from the early morning of New Year’s Eve over the course of a 24 hour period, reenacting his last moments until the time he was shot and killed.

Starring Michael B. Jordan, Oscar winner Octavia Spencer, Melonie Diaz, Ahna O’Reilly, Kevin Durand and Chad Michael Murray, Fruitvale is said to be Sundance’s hottest breakout film.


(Pictured above: Bird Runningwater, Director, Native American and Indigenous Program, Sundance Institute, Brooke Swaney, Time Warner Foundation Fellow, Ryan Coogler, Time Warner Foundation Fellow and Michelle Satter, Founding Director, Feature Film Program, Sundance Institute.)

The 26-year old Ryan Coogler is a first time writer-director. The foundation is proud to support Coogler as well as many other young talented artists premiering at Sundance this year. The Time Warner Foundation has supported the Sundance Institute since 2007. Through the Time Warner Storytelling Advancement Fund Grant, the Institute and the Time Warner Foundation supported 17 emerging feature film and theatre artists, including Elgin James (Little Birds), Andrew Okpeaha MacLean (On the Ice), Annie Baker (Circle Mirror Transformation) and Dee Rees (Pariah).

Congratulations to Ryan Coogler and the entire Fruitvale cast on their well-deserved Sundance success.