“Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine”: Film Screening and Discussion – Monday, October 14 – Free Admission – Everyone Welcome!

Our class will be ending when this event begins, but it may still be worth it to go.


Free and open to the Rutgers University community and the general public. Click here for directions to the Livingston Student Center.

Parking for non-Rutgers visitors is available in Lots 105 and 112, and the Green and Yellow Lots without permits. Rutgers faculty, staff, and students must park only in their authorized designated lots. Click here for directions to Lot 105; click here for Lot 112; click here for the Green Lot; and click here for the Yellow Lot.


In observance of the fifteenth anniversary of the murder of Matthew Shepard, the Tyler Clementi Center and its university partners host a screening and discussion of the documentary film Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine (2013; 85 min) as the kick-off event for this year’s Ally Week. Directed by Michele Josue and produced by Liam McNiff, Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine follows Josue, a close friend of Matt’s, as she travels to pivotal locations in his life, interviewing other friends and family members, and gaining insight into the beautiful life and devastating loss of Matthew Shepard. A devastating tragedy, Shepard’s murder also initiated a much-needed dialogue about hate crimes and intolerance against the LGBT community. His story set the stage for the landmark Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which President Barack Obama signed into law in 2009. The film reminds its viewers that, while some progress has been achieved in the last fifteen years, LGBT inequality and hate crimes persist, and parts of Shepard’s life story are unfortunately still very much a part of young people’s realities. Click here to learn more about Matthew Shepard and the Matthew Shepard Foundation, and click here to learn more about the Hate Crimes Prevention Act named in his memory.


Michele Josue is a graduate of Emerson College’s film program. She has been directing and producing documentary films internationally for over a decade for various schools and non-profit organizations. Josue grew up in Maryland and Lugano, Switzerland, where she became close friends with Matthew Shepard, a fellow student at the American School in Switzerland, an international boarding school. Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine is her feature film debut. Click here to learn more about Michele Josue, and click here to learn more about her film.

Beth Loffreda is the director of the MFA program in creative writing, an associate professor of American studies, and a founding member of the queer studies advisory board at the University of Wyoming. She is the author of Losing Matt Shepard: Life and Politics in the Aftermath of Anti-Gay Murder (Columbia University Press, 2000) and is co-editor, with poet Claudia Rankine, of the forthcoming collection, The Racial Imaginary (Fence Books). She is currently working on a collection of essays about disappearance. Her teaching has been recognized with a University of Wyoming Ellbogen Meritorious Teaching award, a Jason Thompson Commitment to Diversity award, and a Top Ten Teacher award. She graduated from Rutgers in 1997 with a PhD in English, and has lived in Laramie since 1998. Click here to learn more about Professor Loffreda, and click here to learn more about her book, Losing Matt Shepard.


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