tpr media is working frantically before the international premiere of an extraordinary feature-length documentary Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine at IDFA in Amsterdam, the world’s largest documentary film festival. The film will launch IDFA’s first-ever Gay Night (November 27) alongside Facing Fear a short film by US director Jason Cohen.
Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine takes an intimate look into the life of 21-year-old American student Matt Shepard who was tragically murdered in 1998 because he was gay. After years of tireless campaigning by his parents Judy and Dennis Shepard, Matthew’s brutal murder changed hate crime legislation in the US forever and was signed into law by President Obama in 2009.
Framed through a personal lens by first-time director, Michele Josue, a close school friend of Matt’s, the film is a story of loss, love and courage in the face of tragedy.
This year we have seen great steps towards LGBT equality – with the breakthrough in same sex marriages in the UK, France, Brazil and elsewhere. However, LGBT inequality and hate crimes are still very real today. Though a deeply personal film, Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine tells a universal story. Currently we are witnessing anti-gay propaganda laws, which suppress the LGBT community in Russia and virulent anti-gay marriage demonstrations in France. One is six gay people in Britain still experience hate crime, this clearly demonstrates that although legislation is slowly changing in some countries, people’s attitudes have some way to go to catch up.
If you happen to be lucky enough to be attending IDFA then please ensure you see Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine (see link for screening dates)