On July 8, the Sundance Film Festival Winner "Fruitvale Station" premiered in New York.
Director Ryan Coogler and actors Octavia Spencer, Melonie Diaz and Michael B. Jordan graced the red carpet alongside producer Nina Yang Bongiovi and Harvey Weinstein.
On the red carpet, Latinos Post had the opportunity to speak with Bongiovi who revealed that a professor of hers from "way back at USC called me and said 'I have a brilliant student in Ryan Coogler and I know that you're working with Forest Whitaker so you guys gotta meet him.'" She said that when she saw Coogler's short films, she was impressed and wanted to work with him.
Bongiovi also revealed that budgeting the film was difficult, but that she was "fortunate enough to have good friends that invested in it from China." She also said that the San Francisco Film Society and Sundance gave the production grants. She admitted that the biggest challenge while making the film was shooting in just 21 days. She said that filming at BART station was difficult because the team only had four hours to shoot the scene three times. "It's a lot of effort but it was like so beautiful because there are so many people helping us [do] the right thing," she added.
Bongiovi also said that Spencer became a co-executive producer because she helped regain funds after a small portion of the budget was lost during shooting.
"We were in the middle of filming and I think we might have been in our second or third week and we lost some funding. I made some phone calls and chipped in some of my own money. Nina Yang Bongiovi and Forest Whitaker were very gracious and offered me a co-executive producer role and I took it," Spencer explained.
She also spoke of the challenges of her role and said that it was hard playing a real person because she was not a mother and she had never lost anyone to violence.
The Oscar-winning actress praised Coogler, calling him an amazing storyteller. "Well his screenplay is amazing. So I felt very comfortable and I knew he was also an avid researcher. He did a lot of our homework by giving us the research he did when writing the film," she said.
The premiere also saw other celebrities including Candice Bergen, Cuba Gooding Jr., Bryan D'Arcy, Adam Driver, Patina Miller, BET Ceo Debra Lee.
"Fruitvale Station" opens on July 12 in New York and Los Angeles and will later expand nationwide.