By Steve Large

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A movie opening on Friday about the 2009 BART shooting that killed Oscar Grant has a local connection.

Writer-director Ryan Coogler is a Sacramento State graduate who was also an all-conference wide receiver for the Hornets.

His movie, Fruitvale Station, has already won the top Sundance Film Festival Award and it’s an Academy Award contender.

Sacramento State professor Steve Buss was one of Coogler’s film mentors.

“He was excellent, he was low-key, sincere. He was hard-working.”

He still has his gradebook from 2006.

“He was the only one that got a B-plus.”

Now Coogler is receiving critical praise for tackling a story on race relations and police power, forever linked to the Oscar Grant legacy.

“Some people want to make him out to be a saint, never done anything in his life. Some people want to make him out to be a horrible criminal.”

After his time at Sacramento State, Coogler went on to USC.

The movie opens in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and New York on Friday, while Sacramento’s Crest Theatre will be showing it on July 23.

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