After achieving a lifelong dream of becoming an Oakland police officer, the brutal Oakland streets take a toll, leading to a life-altering ‘friendly fire’ shooting of a fellow undercover police officer.

Writer’s Statement

Almost 20 years ago, I was a new police officer in Oakland, California. My life would change completely when I mistakenly shot and killed a fellow undercover policeman whom I thought was about to kill someone else. I tried my best to stay on the force, but after a 3-year lawsuit with the Johnnie Cochran law firm and a second shooting with a carjacking suspect, I ended up at a PTSD retreat for emergency responders. There is no doubt that place saved my life.  During the last 10 years, I’ve been a peer counselor at that same retreat giving back what I learned.  However, I never publicly spoke of this tragedy until recently when a fellow officer encouraged me to write about my experience in the hopes of inspiring those in America who currently struggle with PTSD.  So in the last four years, with a passionate intensity, I have relentlessly worked on this project and have finally finished the screenplay titled “Oakland.”

About the Screenwriter

Andrew Koponen was born in 1971 to parents Brian and Mickie Koponen. He was raised and educated in Livermore, California. An accomplished wrestler throughout high school and college, he went on to take the Bronze Medal at the 1990 United States Olympic Festival, and earned two additional All-American honors at the Greco-Roman Nationals. Andrew accomplished his dream of becoming a police officer for Oakland, California; though after 8 years, he left the department due to the strain of police work. He has since dedicated the last 10 years as a peer counselor for current emergency responders struggling with PTSD. He possesses a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in education.

Awards for the screenplay “Oakland”

  • Best First Time Screenwriter – Los Angeles Film Awards, Dec 2017
  • Official Selection – Beverly Hills Film Festival, 2018
  • Best Original Screenplay Feature – London Independent Film Awards, Dec 2018
  • Honorable Mention – Depth of Field International Film Awards, 2018
  • Bronze Winner – Beverly Hills Screenplay Contest (Historical/Biography), 2018
  • Official Selection – Pasadena International Film Festival, 2019
  • Official Selection – Beverly Hills Film Festival, 2019
  • Best Dialogue Feature Script – Queen Palm International Film Festival, Feb 2019
  • Official Selection – Sacramento International Film Festival, 2019
  • Semi-finalist – Utah Film Festival and Awards, 2019
  • Official Selection – Madrid International Film Festival, 2019
  • Official Selection – Amsterdam International Film Festival, 2019
  • Best Dramatic Feature Screenplay – Cordillera International Film Festival, 2019
  • Best Screenplay – Annual California Independent Film Festival, 2019
  • Official Selection – Catalina Film Festival, 2019

News & Reviews

Always Moving Forward – The Andrew Koponen Story

The California Wrestler Magazine

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