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Press Release  
Release Date: Thursday, October 3, 2013 1:47 PM
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Media Contact:
Sholnn Freeman
Communications Specialist
Alumnus McMurray Attracts Film Spotlight for ‘Fruitvale Station’
Gerard McMurray
Gerard McMurray
Courtesy of San Francisco Film Society

WASHINGTON (July 26, 2013) – Alumnus Gerard McMurray (B.A. ‘04) has gained greater recognition for his role as associate producer of Fruitvale Station. McMurray’s success comes as a number of other young alumni are steadily winning awards and gaining appreciation.

The critically acclaimed feature Fruitvale Station tells the true story of Oscar Grant, the unarmed African-American man who was fatally shot by a transit officer in Oakland, Calif., on New Year’s Day. McMurray told The Washington Post that he and like-minded filmmakers have drawn inspiration from 1990s-era Black filmmakers.  

“All of those filmmakers who came out of the early 1990s, who were telling stories about people of color, were definitely our inspiration,” he said. “We just want to tell good stories that involve people. If they’re people of color, fine, but it’s about the story.”

Last month, the San Francisco Film Society named McMurray, along with film partner Ephraim Walker, recipients of the organization’s FilmHouse Residencies. The award will support their feature, Riders, which tells the story of rogue police officers who terrorize Black residents in West Oakland and of a 23-year-old rookie cop who becomes entangled in the corruption.

McMurray was born and raised in New Orleans’ 7th ward. He has been a filmmaker since he picked up his first Super 8 camera as an undergraduate at Howard. In 2011, McMurray was awarded the Director’s Guild of America Student Filmmaker Award for his short film Battle Buddy. He earned an MFA from the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts in May 2011. While there, McMurray was a classmate of Ryan Coogler who wrote and directed Fruitvale Station.

McMurray’s growing prominence comes as Howard University increasingly attracts attention for film. In a January article citing the work of Bradford Young (MFA ‘04), The Washington Post dubbed Howard an “incubator of cinematographers.”

In addition, the upcoming BlackStar Film Festival in Philadelphia (Aug 1-4) will present the panel, “Howard University and Visualizing Blackness.” In its description of the panel, BlackStar noted that over the past several years Howard film alumni have steadily gained recognition for cinematography ,directing and producing. The group said Howard is becoming known for “a specific politically-charged aesthetic in which students are encouraged to push beyond the boundaries of conventional cinema to re-present Black bodies masterfully and beautifully.”


Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. Since 1998, the University has produced two Rhodes Scholars, two Truman Scholars, a Marshall Scholar, 30 Fulbright Scholars and 11 Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, call 202-238-2330, or visit the University's Web site at

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