QUEER VOICES
11/19/2014 02:41 pm ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

'Matt Shepard Is A Friend of Mine' Takes An Intimate Look At Historic Figure

For the first time the story of Matthew Shepard is being told through the lens of a dear friend with an intimate perspective on the life of the hate crime victim.

On Oct. 12, 1998, Matthew Shepard died after succumbing to his wounds from a vicious anti-gay hate crime. In the years since his death, Shepard has become a symbol of the gay rights movement and his murder is symbolic of the countless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people who experience violence and death at the hands of anti-queer individuals.

Now, Michele Josue, a close friend of Shepard's, has produced a film called "Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine" that takes an intimate look at the life and legacy of Shepard and his family.

"I was 19 when Matt died and his loss was devastating for me," Josue said in a statement. "It’s a hard thing to understand, but as his story became an international news event, my heartbreak and sense of loss only grew as my friend Matt was replaced by 'Matthew Shepard,' a historic figure and icon that will forever be associated with unspeakable violence and hate. And as the media stripped my friend 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 I knew how, through film."

"Matt Shepard is a friend of Mine" is slated to be released theatrically in Feb. 2015 and will screen in New York City on Nov. 20. Head here for more information.

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