Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-08-23
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Friends, family tell of Matthew Shepard in new movie
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times
2013-09-19

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Michele Josue was a sophomore in film school in Boston that October day 15 years ago when her older sister called, telling her that she needed to turn on the television immediately—that her friend was on the news.

It was Matt Shepard, as she called him then and now—not Matthew, as he's mostly been called since that tragic October evening in Laramie, Wyo., when he was kidnapped from a bar, driven to a field, tortured and tethered to a fence and left to die.

Shepard died from his injuries days later, never regaining consciousness.

"I was immediately shocked; it was very surreal, beyond surreal," watching the breaking news reports in 1998.

Josue was admittedly "on pins and needles" after learning of Shepard's dire state after the attack. She watched every news report she could, read everything she could.

Shepard was a friend of hers.

She still remembers watching the press conference on Oct. 12, 1998, which told of his passing. "That was very, very hard [to watch]," she said. "His death was very devastating, and it has stayed with me—to this day.

"I wanted to make a film to share with the world that before he became Matthew Shepard, this iconic symbol of the hate and intolerance that the LGBT community struggles against, he was just a normal, complex, gay young man who had friends and family who loved and supported him. I think it's really important for the world to know that. As a filmmaker, and as his friend, I always just felt this tremendous obligation to honor Matt and his family in the most honest, faithful way possible. So, when I was emotionally and artistically ready, I always knew that I would do this, that I would share with the world who Matt really was—and the only way I know how is, through film."

Matt Shepard Is A Friend Of Mine is an emotional 89-minute tale, exploring the life and tragic death of Shepard through a truly personal lens. Josue is the filmmaker, which includes director, producer and editor, and the movie shows pivotal locations in Shepard's life, plus countless interviews with other friends of his, plus family members.

Filming started on the project in the fall of 2010, and included vintage cameras, partially due to the movie's limited budget, but also to evoke a sense of nostalgia. Some of the shooting even was done on Super 8 film.

Josue spoke with Shepard's childhood friend Tim Galles, and also Matt Galloway, the bartender who was the last person to see Shepard at the Fireside Bar, where he met Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson.

The moving tribute to Shepard, in the words and pictures that Josue chose to include, are perfect. Josue talked to high school friends of Shepard's, as well as mentors, teachers, policemen and more.

"Sometimes, to be quite honest, it feels like [Shepard's attack and death] happened just yesterday. You don't get over something like that, even after 15 years," said Josue, 34, who lives in Los Angeles. Her husband, Liam McNiff, is the movie's executive producer.

Judy and Dennis Shepard, Matthew's parents, gave their blessing for the film, Josue said.

"I think the movie is a well-rounded, complete portrait of who he really was," Josue said. "To me, what was always missing to the public about Matt Shepard was, his humanity. I think that's what our film does—it fills in those blanks for people; it really shows Matt through the people who knew him best, and shows who he was as a person."

The movie makes its world premiere on Friday, Oct. 4, at the Mill Valley Film Festival in California and also that same night at the Washington D.C. National Cathedral. The movie will be shown Oct. 8 in San Diego, Oct. 9 in Los Angeles, and on Oct. 11 at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

The Chicago premiere is Tuesday night, Oct. 29, at Sidetrack in Lakeview. (See the accompanying sidebar story for more information on the Chicago screening, which will include an appearance by Josue and others.)

"The title of the film is a very literal reference to my friendship with Matt," Josue said. "I always hope people watching the film will see that Matt was a human being with hopes, dreams and struggles, like everyone else. Also, I hope the movie changes hearts and minds, helps in the education process of those who might not believe in dignity and equal rights for everyone."

Josue said one of her personal favorite aspects of the movie was the use of a big box of Shepard's keepsakes that Judy provided, which included photos, unsent letters, poems, souvenirs, postcards and more. "It was beyond meaningful to read Matt's words, to hear his voice, and just so vividly remember who he was," she said. "I was profoundly confronted with how much I miss him [after seeing the items in that box].

"By far, the [content of that box was the] most meaningful, the most emotional part of the entire production."

Josue and Shepard went to the same boarding high school, The American School in Switzerland. He was two years older than Josue, so they had no classes together.

They met working together on school theatre productions, and though he was a junior and Josue was a freshman when they met, "we grew very close," she said.

Josue said Shepard was the school's unofficial mayor—because everyone loved him.

"He was friends with kids in grades below him, and grades above him. He also was friends with all of the staff and teachers," Josue said. "What we always said about Matt was, he never met a stranger; rather, everyone he met was a potential new friend. He was so friendly, so full of life, so loyal, so curious about the world. He was very vibrant, very kind, very sensitive, so good to everyone around him."

The school had about 300 students, and Shepard "definitely was one of my best friends at school," Josue said.

Shepard was not out in high school, and when she later learned that Shepard was gay, it was "a total non-issue," Josue said.

After he graduated, the two stayed in contact by writing and by phone.

And one summer, Shepard visited Josue and her family in Albuquerque, N.M. Josue's memories of their Albuquerque adventures still stand tall—from going to a water park, to the sunburn he endured.

"My last memory was dropping him off at the airport, and he was very late for his flight—and yet he still wanted to stop at the shops at the airport to pick out the perfect New Mexico trinket for his mom because, whenever he traveled, he would always buy a souvenir for his mother," Josue said.

See related story at www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Chicago-screening-of-new-Matthew-Shepard-movie-Oct-29-at-Sidetrack/44449.html .


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Cinema/Chicago, Chicago International Film Festival roll out roster of films 2017-08-23 - CHICAGO - Mimi Plauche, recently named Artistic Director of Cinema/Chicago and the Chicago International Film Festival, today announced the first selection of films ...


Gay News

Showbiz news: George Michael, Oprah, Adore Delano, Imagine Dragons 2017-08-23 - George Michael—the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter who died last Christmas at 53—was honored in Los Angeles for his decades of humanitarian work with Project Angel ...


Gay News

Madonna concert film out Sept. 15 2017-08-23 - Eagle Vision will release the film of Madonna's record-breaking Rebel Heart tour on Friday, Sept. 15, on digital download, DVD and Blu-ray. It ...


Gay News

Reeling LGBTQ film festival announces Sept. 21-28 lineup 2017-08-18 - ( CHICAGO, IL - August 17, 2017 ) Reeling, the second-oldest LGBTQ film festival in the world, celebrates its 35th anniversary with an ...


Gay News

George Takei in Chicago on Sept. 7 2017-08-16 - In conjunction with its first original exhibition "Then They Came for Me: Incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII and the Demise of Civil ...


Gay News

BLACK ALPHABET FILM FESTIVAL Jewel Thais-Williams and nightclub subject of documentary 2017-08-16 - Jewel Thais-Williams is more than the owner of the popular "Jewel's Catch One" night club, in Los Angeles; rather, she is trailblazer, as ...


Gay News

Ken Burns to discuss 'Vietnam War' Sept. 7 2017-08-16 - Ken Burns and Lynn Novick will preview their new 10-part documentary, The Vietnam War, with an exclusive screening and discussion at the Auditorium ...


Gay News

Reeling film festival returns Sept. 21-28 2017-08-16 - The 35th edition of Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival will run Sept. 21-28. The first Chicago Lesbian & Gay International Film ...


Gay News

MOVIES Actress raps about performing hip-hop in 'Patti Cake$' 2017-08-16 - Watch out, world: There's a new rapper in town, and her name is Patti Cake$. A plus-sized white girl from New Jersey named ...


Gay News

Manolo Blahnik film out Sept. 22 2017-08-16 - Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards—an in-depth portrait of legendary fashion designer Manolo Blahnik—will premiere locally at the Music Box Theatre, ...


 



Copyright © 2017 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.