Educational Package includes: Theatrical Trailer, Shepard’s Statement To The Court, Matthew Shepard Foundation Video: Combating Hate And Bullying In Lexington, Kentucky, Classroom Mini Unit By Big Picture Instructional Design (PDF Available For Computer Download On This Disc), and Special Message from Judy and Dennis Shepard.
On October 7, 1998, University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard was brutally beaten and tied to a fence and left to die because he was gay. Years later, Michele Josue, a close friend of Matt's, revisits the shocking case with never-before-seen photos, rare video footage, as Shepard's all-too-brief life is remembered through the vivid testimonies of those who knew him best. New revelations emerge in one of the most notorious hate crimes in US history, leading to a searing, poignant, and multi-layered biographical and sociological portrait. In the end, the notion of forgiveness--embodied in the moving and courageous final act of Shepard's parents--takes on truly heroic proportions.
Cleveland International Film Festival 2014, Best Film
Emerge Film Festival, Maine, 2015, Best Documentary
Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival 2014, 2nd place
Out on Film, Atlanta, 2014, Best Documentary
Toronto Inside Out Lesbian and Gay Film and Video Festival 2014, Best Documentary
Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, 2014, 2nd place
Recommended by Educational Media Reviews Online:
"A profoundly moving portrait of Shepard's life and death seen from the perspective of his friends...One of the strengths of the documentary is that it puts a face to the cold facts by asserting that the most effective antidote against hate is to get acquainted with personal stories of the people impacted most directly by discrimination...The film is not naively optimistic nor does it present an overly simplified story of courage conquering hate. Even at the funeral, the crowd that we see bereft with grief and strong with solidarity is dramatically contrasted by the hate groups picketing in the background. The outpouring of letters of support is tainted by the number of hate letters that condone the crime in the name of morality and religion. The film's reflection on hate and forgiveness has unexpected turns, as Matt's courageous parents decide to plea for the killer's capital punishment to be committed to life in prison instead. The director’s message is clear: personal closure may never arrive; perhaps it is better that way, as remembering from a place of full acceptance, spurs us into action.
This film is a superb tool for fostering dialogue around issues like bullying, hate crimes and discrimination. The film is suitable for a wide range of audiences and contexts ranging from high-school classrooms to adult education groups, or even undergraduate courses." - Read Full Review
“'Matt Shepard Is A Friend Of Mine' is a great documentary...This film doesn't just revisit an atrocity, it moves through it, and finds meaning in it." -RogerEbert.com
“A tender reconstruction of personal loss." -The New York Times
"Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine' seeks to restore Shepard's humanity to his name, to tell the story of the person who was murdered for being who he was." -Slate
"The film is enough to prompt soul-searching among parents, educators and the LGBT community on how to provide adequate guidance and support for LGBT youths." -Los Angeles Times
"Long-in-coming doc offers an intensely personal look behind the headlines."- Hollywood Reporter
"This remarkable film is a tearjerker in a good way, with director Josue assembling a collage of key moments in Matt's all-too-brief life that carries the emotional punch of a great novel." -Bay Area Reporter
"Josue's film is sensitive and personal...Her journey to and discovery of Wyoming - a place she had never been before Shepard's funeral in Casper - is as compelling a component in the film as details of the killing and trial." -San Francisco Chronicle