Young African-American director creates buzz at Cannes

Eurasia News

You may not have seen any of his stuff, but movie insiders predict you soon will.

And good parents, American football and mentoring by Hollywood star Forest Whitaker are what gave him his chance.

Aged just 26, from a modest background, African-American director Ryan Coogler is being tipped at the Cannes Film Festival as a dazzling new talent.

His first feature movie, “Fruitvale Station”, featuring in Cannes’ “Un Certain Regard” competition, touches on a tragic true-life story that occurred in his native San Francisco.

It recounts the last 24 hours in the life of a young black man, Oscar Grant, who is shot dead by a cop at a subway station just as he is getting his troubled existence back on track. Riots broke out after the verdict in the policeman’s trial.

Filmed on less than a million dollars, the movie made a buzz in January at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Grand Jury prize. A bidding war broke out, won by mogul Harvey Weinstein, who is releasing it in the United States in July.

“Fruitvale Station” was warmly applauded at its press screening in Cannes, where it is vying for the Golden Camera prize for young talents. Britain’s Guardian newspaper gave the “quietly gripping debut” four out of a maximum five stars.