Independent filmmaker Michele Josue announced the launch of a 44-day Kickstarter fundraising campaign, “Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine” on Friday, April 15th. Josue is looking to raise $50,000 to complete a feature documentary of her close childhood friend Matthew Shepard, who was brutally murdered in an anti-gay crime in October 1998.
Funds raised by this campaign will enable Josue and her team to complete a second filming, which will include footage essential to Matthew’s story. Her plans for the filming include a trip across North America as well as Lugano, Switzerland, where Shepard attended high school and became friends with Ms. Josue.
“Passionate people make all the difference with something like this and every single person’s contribution will make a difference,” Josue said. “One of the main reasons we decided to use Kickstarter was because we loved the idea that our campaign, like our film, will be a collaborative effort by people who truly care about this project.”
Within 2 weeks, over 50% of the goal has been reached by pledges from both friends of Matt and strangers alike. Josue and her team hope to reach the $50,000 necessary by May 29, 2011.
Anyone can sponsor the project at www.kickstarter.com/projects/1253709612/matt-shepard-is-a-friend-of-mine or at www.kickstarter.com by searching for “Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine.” The film’s teaser and additional information about the project can also be found on the website.
Filming for the bulk of the project began last fall and includes extensive interviews with a number of individuals who were intimately affected by the tragedy. Among them were Shepard’s mother, Judy Shepard, a prominent gay rights activist, and his father, Dennis Shepard. Other interviewees included law enforcement and health care professionals who played essential roles in his case. Through the honest and intimate recollections of his family and those who were personally affected by his death, the film seeks to tell the story of the Matthew the world hardly knows and to make sense out of a senseless tragedy.
“I am truly honored to be making this film for Matt. I firmly believe the final product will be something we can all be proud of, and that will be a testament to friendship, love, acceptance, and understanding” said Josue.
About Michele Josue
Michele Josue is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker and a graduate of Emerson College’s prestigious film program. She has been producing and directing documentary film internationally for over a decade. This documentary marks her feature film directorial debut.