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The film Fruitvale, chronicling the life and death of Oscar Grant–a Bay Area man shot by police–has received a healthy amount of praise at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

Helmed by 26-year-old Ryan Coogler, Fruitvale marks the USC grad’s directional debut. He also serves as writer of the film.

In addition to Coogler two big-name actors signed on for the work. Forest Whitaker is producing the film, while Octavia Spencer co-stars.

Powered by the positive reviews, opening at the legendary film festival will likely help the film snatch up a distribution deal.

From The Daily Beast:

Directed by 26-year-old first-time filmmaker Ryan Coogler, who also works at a juvenile-detention center in San Francisco, ‘Fruitvale’ is a harrowing film that, despite its foregone conclusion, is never less than riveting. This is thanks in large part to Jordan’s performance as Oscar, transforming this blurry YouTube victim into a gregarious, dimpled, compassionate, and ultimately tragic case of a young man who seems forever stuck in his hopeless station in life. While the characterization of Oscar could have benefited from being a bit less sympathetic, since painting him as a wronged saint as opposed to a conflicted young man makes for a less challenging character, Jordan, who burst onto the screen in the superhero flick Chronicle, does a fine job carrying the entire film on his back.

Grant was gunned down back in 2009 at a train station. The young father, from Oakland, was shot by police for allegedly resisting arrest. Video footage captured on a cell phone provided a different completely different story, and led  to the cops receiving minimal disciplinary action. One of the officers involved, Johannes Merhsrle was found guilty of involuntary murder charges and sentenced to two years. He was released in June of 2011.

A $25 million wrongful death lawsuit was filed against Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) the company which runs the trains at the station where Grant was killed. They later reached a $1.3 million settlement with Grant’s family.

Photo: The Daily Beast