GT Screen

Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine

A new docu-film takes an intimate look at the life of Matthew Shepard who was tragically murdered because he was gay

In 1998, the world was shocked by the news of the violent anti-gay atttack that put 21-year-old Matthew Shepard into hospital in a coma, where he died. He had been pistol-whipped and tortured by Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, tied to a fence and left for dead as punishment for his sexuality. It was only 18 hours later that his body was found by a cyclist, who had thought is was a scarecrow. The murder drew international attention and led to Obama's signing of the hate crime legislation in 2009, commonly known as the Matthew Shepard Act.

15 years after the truly horrendous crime, the story of the boy behind the tragedy is being told by his close school friend and first-time director Michele Josue in the film Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine. Featuring personal interviews with family and friends and the place officers who dealt with the case, old photographs and home films, as well as news reports and media coverage of demonstrations and candlelight vigils, the docu-film tells the story of loss and love in the face of hate. Matthew Shepard has become a media icon in the fight for equality, but this film wants to show the real Matt Shepard (he was very rarely called Matthew), the human side of this now historic figure.

Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine premiers at the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam, the world's most respected documentary film festival, this November. Matthew Shepard isn't just a pop culture and political reference, martyred for his sexuality and iconised; he was also a young man with friends and family who loved him, with quirks and secrets, and with a story worth hearing. Do whatever you can to see this touching portrayal.

For more information and to watch the trailer, visit

Words: Darcy Rive

More from GT Screen