Ryan Coogler‘s Fruitvale made audiences at this year’s Sundance Film Festival weep with the true story of Oscar Grant, who was murdered by BART Station police in 2009. At last night’s awards ceremony, Coogler’s debut feature was awarded with both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award, which made it the first film to win in both categories since 2009′s Precious. The Weinstein Company picked up the movie for $2 million after a heated bidding war, and I would expect a release sometime later this year. Click here for my review.
Other winners included This Is Martin Bonner for “Best of NEXT” (voters must have connected with a movie where nothing happens), best screenwriting for Lake Bell for In a World… (click here for my review), and Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley for their tremendous performances in The Spectacular Now. Hit the jump for the full list of winners.
We can accept poverty as long as it doesn’t have a face, a name, a family, an identity. We know that illegal immigration is a “problem”, and yet we often consider it a solution. It’s a cheap workforce that does menial labor. We don’t want them gone; we just don’t want to look them in the eye because we know how they got here and how they’re treated. We’ve thrown up a barrier both emotional and physical. Marc Silver and Gael Garcia Bernal attempt to tear down the physical wall by breaking down the emotional one. By exploring the life of a single immigrant who died trying to find a better life, Silver and Bernal have taken a fresh approach to a familiar issue. Their film only falters when they try to present a perfect face rather than a human one.
A couple of casting stories for you today. Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights) and Harry Connick Jr. will headline the holiday family film When Angels Sing. The film will be directed by Tim McCanlies (Secondhand Lions), with a script by Lou Berney adapted from the novel of the same name by Turk Pipkin (Best. Name. Ever.). Variety reports that Kris Kristofferson, Chandler Canterbury, Willie Nelson, Fionnula Flanagan, Dana Wheeler-Nicholson and Lyle Lovett round out the Texas country music-themed cast.
Gael Garcia Bernal (The Motorcycle Diaries) will star in the drama documentary Who is Dayani Cristal?. The documentary recently started filming and explores the immigration debate sparked by the discovery of an unidentified body found on the US/Mexico border with a tattoo that reads “Dayani Cristal” as the only identifying mark. Variety reports that the film is being produced by Pulse Films and Bernal’s own company Canana.