- September 23, 2014
The film Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine tells the story of Matthew Shepard’s life and tragic death through the lens of those who knew him best.
On the night of October 6, 1998, Matthew Shepard was singled out for being gay and brutally attacked near Laramie, Wyoming. Six days later Matthew died from the injuries sustained that horrific night.
Michele Josue, a close friend of Shepard’s, directed the film, which includes never-before-seen photos, rare video footage, and new revelations about Shepard's all-too-brief life.
Josue explained to HRC, “This film has been something that has been burning inside of me for quite some time. When Matt died, I was a college student studying film in Boston. His death and the way he died devastated me and marked me deeply. So ever since that moment, I felt an obligation as Matt’s friend and as a filmmaker to share his story in a sensitive, honest, and human way.”
The film has been in the works since the fall of 2010. It first premiered at a film festival last October to mark the anniversary of Shepard’s passing. According to Josue, the film has been on the film festival circuit ever since.
“When I look back, I can’t believe it’s already been 4 years since we embarked on this journey,” Josue said. “We’ve been amazed and deeply touched to see all the people who remain affected by Matt’s story and want to make a difference.”
While the film tells the traumatic story of Shepard’s passing, it also sends an inspiring message of courage, faith and love.
“Though Matt’s death was unbelievably devastating, I still find hope in his story and his inspiring legacy, as carried out by his brave parents Judy and Dennis Shepard. I hope the film inspires us all to think about the impact we can have on the lives of others and challenges us to live an authentic life of love, compassion, and courage.”
Matthew’s mother, Judy Shepard, has served on the HRC Board of Directors since 2001. She and her husband, Dennis, were instrumental in the fight to pass the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in 2009.
On October 3, join HRC at our office in Washington, D.C. for a film screening of Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine. RSVP here.