Friday, February 20, 2015

'Matt Shepard Is A Friend of Mine' opens in Toronto

Director Michele Josue, father Dennis Shepard and mother Judy Shepard
address crowd at gala event in Toronto last night.
I attended the gala screening last night of the documentary feature 'Matt Shepard Is A Friend of Mine' by director Michelle Josue at Toronto's Carlton Cinemas, and later the Q&A session at the Marquis of Granby pub where the filmmaker as well as Shepard's heroic parents, Judy and Dennis, answered audience questions.

Judy Shepard is a force of nature, working tirelessly since her son's tragic death in 1998 to promote tolerance and better understanding through the Matthew Shepard Foundation.  That spirit was on full display last night as she took most of the audience questions.

The film is a loving and tender portrait of the young man whose life was tragically cut short in 1998 by two gay bashers in Wyoming.  The emotional doc offers greater details about Shepard's life, fleshing him out as a human being.  We learn that Matt was passionate and political and suffered from personal demons. Still searching for himself but perhaps finding some peace in school in Laramie, it's clear he hoped he'd make a difference in the world.  One can't help but think about how great a person he could've become had he lived.  It's been almost 17 years since this tragedy and the film acts as a great reminder of Shepard's legacy as well as how far we've come since then. 

Check it out at the Carlton this week if you can! 

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