Statement: Sixteen years ago, my friend Matthew Shepard was brutally beaten and tied to a fence left to die because he was gay. I was a 19-year-old film student at the time, and Matt’s murder opened my eyes and the world’s to the cruelty, intolerance, and inequality many in the LGBT community face every day.
While there has been undeniable social and legislative progress here in the United States in the years since Matt’s death, it often seems in other parts of the world, like Russia, that the situation has gotten worse for the LGBT community.
For this reason, it is my great privilege and honor to share Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine with Russian audiences at the Side by Side International LGBT Film Festival. I, along with so many others around the world, am inspired by the strength and courage of the Side by Side organizers and the Russian LGBT community in the face of such oppressive homophobia. I hope our film, as an honest and sensitive portrait of Matt’s life and legacy, can be a source of hope and courage for your community.
Michele Josue and the Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine team.
Michele Josue is a filmmaker born to Filipino immigrant parents and raised in suburban Maryland. After graduating from Emerson College’s film program in Boston, Michele relocated to Los Angeles where she worked as a short-form video editor as well as in the Art departments on several feature films and TV shows. She currently resides in Los Angeles and has been directing, producing, and editing documentary internationally for over a decade for various schools and non-profit organizations.
MATT SHEPARD IS A FRIEND OF MINE is her feature-film debut.