September 30, 2013
Filed Under South Tahoe Events
A new documentary film, “Matthew Shepard is a Friend of Mine,” explores the life and tragic death of Matthew Shepard through a personal lens. The film follows Michele Josue, director of the film and a close friend of Shepard’s, as she travels to pivotal locations in his life, interviewing friends and family members, and gaining insight into the life and devastating loss of Matthew Shepard.
The film will have its Northern California premiere at Lake Tahoe Community College on Saturday, October 12 at 7:30 p.m. in the Duke Theatre. Tickets are $5 at the door.
In October, 1998, two men lured Matthew Shepard, a gay freshman at the University of Wyoming, from a bar in Laramie. He was kidnapped and driven to a field where he was tied to a fence, beaten, and left to die because he was gay. Never regaining consciousness, Matthew succumbed to the severe injuries from the attack and died on October 12, 1998.
Shepard’s murder was a shocking tragedy that made headlines around the world. As people denounced the hatred and senseless violence that caused Matthew’s death, a much-needed dialogue about hate crimes and intolerance began. This set the stage for the landmark Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act that was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2009.
“I wanted to make this film because before Matt became “Matthew Shepard,” this huge iconic figure in history, his identity forever tied to unspeakable violence and hate, he was just Matt – a normal kid who happened to be gay, with a loving family and supportive friends,” says Josue.
After working on this project for three years, Josue is hopeful that the film will resonate with teenagers and foster understanding and compassion.
“I think it’s really important that people realize that this heinous crime, this tragic event in history, happened to a normal young man who was just figuring out his way in the world,” says Josue. “If it happened to him, it could happen to anyone. And it still does, unfortunately.”
The LTCC Theatre Department is one of a handful of organizations across the country that will be presenting this new film on or around October 12, the 15 year anniversary of Shepard’s death. The film will have its world premiere on Friday, October 4 on both coasts simultaneously with a screening at the Mill Valley Film Festival in California (chosen as one of the 12 films to see by San Francisco entertainment news 7x7SF) and at an event hosted by the Washington National Cathedral in D.C. as part of a series of events to honor LGBT youth.
In addition to the film screening, the LTCC Theatre Arts Department will present the play, “The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later,” in November to commemorate the 15 year anniversary of Shepard’s passing and as a follow-up to their highly successful 2010 production of “The Laramie Project.”
For more information, please contact the LTCC Theatre Arts Department at (530) 541-4660, ext. 240.