Ryan Coogler

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Ryan Coogler
Ryan Coogler at Sundance 2013.jpg
Ryan Coogler at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival
Born Ryan Kyle Coogler
(1986-05-23) May 23, 1986 (age 28)
Oakland, California, U.S.
Alma mater California State University, Sacramento, USC School of Cinematic Arts
Occupation Director, writer

Ryan Kyle Coogler[1] (born May 23, 1986) is an American film director and screenwriter. His first feature film, Fruitvale Station, won the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award for U.S. dramatic film at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

Early and personal life[edit]

Coogler was born on May 23, 1986[1] in Oakland, California. His mother, Joselyn (née Thomas),[1] is a community organizer, and his father, Ira Coogler, is a probation officer. Both parents graduated from California State University, Hayward. He has two brothers Noah and Keenan.[2] His uncle, Clarence Thomas, is a third-generation Oakland longshoreman, and the former secretary treasurer of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.[3]

Coogler lived in Oakland, California until age eight when he moved to Richmond, California.[2] During his youth, he ran track and played football.[4] He went to a private Catholic school and was good at math and science.[5] He attended Saint Mary's College of California on a football scholarship, playing as a wide receiver, to study chemistry.[2] While he was there, his English professor Rosemary Graham encouraged him to pursue a career in screenwriting.[5] After Saint Mary's canceled its football program, he received another scholarship to attend Sacramento State, where he majored in finance and took film classes. He then attended USC School of Cinematic Arts, where he made a series of short films.[6]

Coogler has worked since age 21 as a counselor with incarcerated youth at San Francisco's Juvenile Hall,[7] following in the footsteps of his father, who has long shared the same occupation.[8] He is engaged to Zinzi Evans.[9]


Coogler accepts the U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic with the crew of Fruitvale Station at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

While at USC, Coogler directed three award-winning short films: Locks (Tribeca Film Festival, Dana and Albert Broccoli Award for Filmmaking Excellence), Gap (Jack Nicholson Award for Achievement in Directing, screenplay by Carol S. Lashof), and Fig (HBO Short Filmmaking Award, DGA Student Filmmaker Award).[7]

His first feature-length film, Fruitvale (later retitled Fruitvale Station), tells the story of the last 24 hours of the life of Oscar Grant, who was shot to death by a police officer at Oakland's Fruitvale BART station on January 1, 2009. The film was developed and produced by Oscar-winning actor Forest Whitaker. "I've worked with a number of truly unique voices, true auteurs," Whitaker said of Coogler, "and I can tell when I'm talking to one."[10]

After the film premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award for U.S. dramatic film, The Weinstein Company acquired the distribution rights for approximately US$2 million.[11][12] The film was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival[13] where it won the award for Best First Film.[14] Time named him with Michael B. Jordan one of 30 people under 30 who are changing the world.[15] As of January 2013, Coogler was working on a graphic novel and a young adult novel.[16] In July 2013, it was reported that MGM had offered Coogler to direct Creed, an upcoming spinoff of the Rocky films. He could reunite with Michael B. Jordan should Jordan accept the role of Apollo Creed's grandson.[17]


Feature films[edit]

Short films[edit]

  • Locks (2009)
  • Fig (2011)
  • The Sculptor (2013)


  1. ^ a b c "Ryan Kyle Coogler, Born 05/23/1986 in California". California Births Index. Retrieved July 20, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Newhouse, Dave (December 17, 2007). "Filmmaker avoids tragic life plotline". Inside Bay Area. Retrieved July 20, 2013. 
  3. ^ Goodman, Amy (January 25, 2013). "Fruitvale: Ryan Coogler’s Debut Film on Bay Area Police Slaying of Oscar Grant the Buzz of Sundance". Democracy Now. Retrieved July 20, 2013. 
  4. ^ Grady, Pam (July 7, 2013). "Ryan Coogler and the 'Fruitvale Station' effect". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved July 20, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Morrison, Pat (January 19, 2013). "'Fruitvale Station's' Ryan Coogler, the message maker". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 20, 2013. 
  6. ^ "25 New Faces of Independent Film: Ryan Coogler". Filmmaker Magazine. Retrieved January 27, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b "Bay Area Director Ryan Coogler Tells Oscar Grant’s Story in "Fruitvale"". 38th Notes. January 7, 2013. Retrieved 2013-01-27. 
  8. ^ "15 Things You Didn't Know About 'Fruitvale' Director Ryan Coogler". Colorlines.com. ARC. Retrieved June 30, 2013. 
  9. ^ Deeeahn (June 6, 2013). "EVENT PICS: ‘FRUITVALE’ CAST ATTENDS 3RD ANNUAL ‘CELEBRATE SUNDANCE INSTITUTE’ IN LA". ConcreteLoop.com. Retrieved July 20, 2013. 
  10. ^ Rhodes, Joe (June 30, 2013). "A Man's Death, a Career's Birth". The New York Times. Retrieved June 30, 2013. 
  11. ^ Fleming, Mike (January 21, 2013). "Sundance: The Weinstein Company Acquires ‘Fruitvale’". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2013-01-27. 
  12. ^ Makinen, Julie (January 26, 2013). "Sundance 2013: 'Fruitvale' wins Grand Jury Prize". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 27, 2013. 
  13. ^ "2013 Official Selection". Cannes. April 18, 2013. Retrieved April 18, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Cannes: 'The Missing Picture' Wins Un Certain Regard Prize". Hollywood Reporter. 26 May 2013. Retrieved 26 May 2013. 
  15. ^ Begley, Sarah (December 5, 2013). "These Are the 30 People Under 30 Changing the World Read more: Michael B. Jordan and Ryan Coogler". Time. Retrieved December 25, 2013. 
  16. ^ Labrecque, Jeff (January 26, 2013). "Sundance 2013: 'Fruitvale' director Ryan Coogler on the life and death of Oscar Grant". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 20, 2013. 
  17. ^ Fleming, Mike (July 24, 2013). "‘Fruitvale Station’ Duo Ryan Coogler And Michael B. Jordan Team With Sly Stallone On MGM ‘Rocky’ Spinoff ‘Creed’". Deadline.com. Retrieved July 24, 2013. 

External links[edit]