May 24, 2014

By Bob Sheppard

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The documentary film, “Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine” will be screened Saturday, May 24th at Toronto’s Inside Out LGBT Film Festival before it’s shown in theatres across Canada in the fall.

Matthew Shepard was a 21 year old gay freshman at the University of Wyoming when he was lured from a bar in October 1998, taken to a field and tortured.  He suffered severe injuries and died six days later.

His death sparked dialogue around the world about violence and hatred toward the LGBT community, and led to a hate crime prevention bill that was named after him, and signed in 2009 by US President Barack Obama.

Shepard’s childhood friend Michele Josue, who directed the film, visited key places in his life, and interviewed family members and friends.  She’ll be at today’s screening of the film.  It’s at 1:30 this afternoon at the TIFF Bell Lightbox Cinema 1 on King Street West. 

Also on hand will be Shepard’s parents Judy and Dennis, who created the Matthew Shepard Foundation that advocates for equal rights for LGBT people. 

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