Even after 16 years, the name and story of Matthew Shepard, whose murder, carved into American history, represented a watershed moment that forever changed the conversation about the LGBT experience, not only still resonate but continue to have an impact.
As the media stripped my friend Matt Shepard of his humanity, I made a promise to myself that when I was emotionally and artistically ready, I would share with the world who Matt really was, in the only way that I knew how: through film.
Fifteen years ago we were in Fort Collins, Colo., at the hospital with Matt, praying for a peaceful end to his suffering. At that point we were aware that he would never wake up from the coma he was in as a result of the beating that he'd received at the hands of then-unknown assailants.
There are moments in history that cast a sudden bright light on an entire culture. And if what happens in that moment can be recorded, we can seize the moment for change. The murder of Matthew Shepard was just such a moment.
October cannot go by anymore, and never will again, without us wondering what might have been if hatred of gay, and lesbian, and bisexual, and transgendered people, and all those whom others simply think might be, had been rooted out long ago.