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Sac State alumnus Ryan Coogler, left, directs Chadwick Boseman in a scene from Black Panther.
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Sac State at the Movies: Ready for our Close-up


Craig Koscho

From behind the camera, up front in a starring role, and even in a quick drive-by cameo, Sacramento State got to represent in feature films this school year.

The exposure came in Hollywood fashion: a once-unknown director now blazing an unheard-of trail; real-life drama adapted for the big screen; and a sweet little peek at the signs that tell people we are here.

It added up to Sac State playing a role in three major motion pictures. One, of course, is a flick for the ages, Black Panther, directed by Ryan Coogler ’07 (Business Administration). It is his third major motion picture and by far the biggest, breaking box-office records and grossing more than $1 billion in ticket sales worldwide.

The blazing success of Black Panther, based on the Marvel Comics Africa-based superhero, makes Coogler three for three when it comes to writing and directing hits.

First came his moving story of Oscar Grant’s death in Fruitvale Station 2013. Coogler followed that in 2015 with Creed, a continuation of Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky saga. Then, his current mega-hit, the story of a leader of a mythical African kingdom that began shattering box-office records before it even opened.

 RELATED VIDEO: Ryan Coogler is Made At Sac State 

While Coogler was a one-man buzz generator, recent alumnus Anthony Sadler Jr. ’17 (Kinesiology) had a starring role as himself in Clint Eastwood’s production of The 15:17 to Paris.

The film – which some critics loved and others thought, well, meh – tells the true story of Sadler and fellow Sacramento products Alek Skarlatos and Spencer Stone thwarting, very much at their own peril, a terrorist attack on the train they were riding across Europe to Paris in 2015. The three young men bravely subdued a gunman intent on causing carnage and ultimately were honored for their heroism. Their story inspired Eastwood to direct a movie about the event, and when it came time to select the actors, he chose the three friends to play themselves.

Sadler graduated from Sac State two years after the thwarted attack with a B.S. in Kinesiology.

 RELATED VIDEO: President Robert S. Nelsen comments on Anthony Sandler: “Wow!” 

Finally, in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment, the capital’s University gets a quick shout-out in Lady Bird, Sacramento native Greta Gerwig’s cinematic love letter to her hometown. You'll catch a few seconds of the University's green-and-gold banners as the title character and her friend drive down J Street. Many other Sac State alumni have made their presence known in the film and television worlds. Among them are television actor Danielle Moné Truitt ’05 (Theatre Arts) (BET’s Rebel), and current student and soon-to-be alumna D’Neise Robinson (Romeo Is Bleeding); writer/directors Joe Carnahan ’94 (Film) (Smokin’ Aces, The Grey), and Graham Streeter ’92 (Business Administration) (Imperfect Sky, Boys in Peril); film actors Rick Rossovich ’79 (Art) (Top Gun, Roxanne), and, of course, Tom Hanks ’78 (Theatre Arts), most recently seen in The Post.


Craig Koscho


Craig Koscho has served as a Sac State writer and public information officer for 11 years. Before that, he worked in television production and newspaper reporting and editing. Craig says, “I have the best job on campus: promoting the University’s arts programs.”