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Powerful New Film About The Murder Of Matthew Shepard To Premiere In Laramie April 3rd

Chip Somodeville, Getty Images

It’s been fifteen years since the murder of Matthew Shepard. Murdered because of hate. It can be said his death has helped advance the cause of many gay, lesbian, and transgendered members of society. This film takes a look at a life-too-short, and the ignorance and hate that still exist today and the battle by many just to be themselves.

Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine, the new feature documentary about the gay young man murdered in Laramie, Wyoming screens at the Shepard Symposium on Human Justice on April 3rd for its Laramie debut.

Acclaimed documentary, Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine about Matthew Shepard, the gay young man murdered in one of the most notorious hate crimes in U.S. history, will screen in Laramie, Wyoming for the first time on Thursday, April 3rd.  Currently playing the festival circuit, the film was directed by Michele Josue, herself a close friend of Shepard’s. Key subjects in the film, including law enforcement officials who handled Shepard’s case, will join Josue for an in-depth post-screening discussion panel. Tortured and murdered in Laramie, Wyoming in October 1998 because he was gay, Matthew Shepard’s story made headlines around the world and set the stage for historic anti-hate crime legislation.  Laramie became the subject of intense scrutiny by the international media and was deeply impacted by the tragedy. The film revisits the shocking case with never-before-seen photos, rare video footage, and new revelations about Shepard’s all-too-brief life. Fifteen years after Shepard’s passing, the film’s return to Laramie is also poignant in light of the recent passing of Fred Phelps, the founder of the Westboro Baptist Church, and Courage v. Wyoming, the lawsuit recently filed in state court on behalf of four same-sex couples who are seeking the freedom to marry or respect for marriages legally performed in other states.
“While we’ve come a long way in the last fifteen years since Matt’s murder, ignorance and hate are unfortunately still very much a part of today’s society,” Josue says. “Though Matt’s death did open my eyes to a world that could be so hostile and cruel, in many ways, the opportunity to tell Matt’s story has also showed me how incredibly good, beautiful, and just the world can be.  Matt’s story includes exemplary police work, tireless activism, and the legislative victory of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Matthew Shepard’s legacy inspires current and future generations to be proud of who they are and to live their lives with courage, compassion, and forgiveness.”
Matthew’s mother and prominent human rights activist Judy Shepard states, “Michele was one of his most cherished friends, as are others whom she spent years interviewing, sharing how Matt changed them and how they changed themselves in the wake of his passing. Her film will forever stand as a unique view into our son’s heart and his hopes. We are profoundly grateful that others will be able to share in its message.”  Visit http://www.shepardsymposium.org/index.php/film-matt-shepard-is-a-friend-of-mine for more information about the screening event. To learn more about the film, visit the film’s official website here: http://mattshepardisafriendofmine.com/

 

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