Cathedral Events

Friday, October 4, 2013 7:30 PM

Coast-to-Coast World Premiere Film Screening: Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine

Event image

The Cathedral was honored to be the location for the East Coast premiere of this new documentary about the life of Matthew Shepard—the same evening as the film’s West Coast premiere at the Mill Valley Film Festival ( Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine ( explores the life of Matthew Shepard, victim of anti-gay hate crime 15 years ago, framed through a personal lens. Matthew Shepard’s murder played a large role in the current Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which protects citizens from being persecuted because of sexual orientation. The film follows director Michele Josue, a close friend of Matt’s, as she travels to pivotal locations in Shepard’s life, interviewing other friends and family members, and gaining insight into the beautiful life and devastating loss of Matthew Shepard.

The screening at the Cathedral also included an introduction by the director and a concluding Q&A with Dean Gary Hall, director Josue, and Matthew’s mother, Judy Shepard. (Inclement weather prevented Matthew’s father, Dennis, from attending.)

View related events from the weekend »

About Michele Josue

Person image

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.

Recent Cathedral Appearances

About Dennis Shepard

Person image

Dennis Shepard has been an advocate for parents’ unconditional love for their LGBT children both during Matt’s life and, very publicly, since Matt’s death. Born in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, Dennis earned a degree in education from the University of Wyoming before marrying Judy in 1973 and settling in Casper, Wyoming, to raise their family. An oil industry safety specialist, Dennis worked for more than 16 years in safety operations for Saudi Aramco in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, before retiring from that position in 2009. He has served on the Matthew Shepard Foundation board of directors since the organization’s inception and currently speaks to audiences around the country, particularly to victims’ advocacy organizations and law enforcement audiences about his experiences and the importance of equal treatment of LGBT crime victims and their loved ones. He and Judy continue to live and work in Casper.

Recent Cathedral Appearances

About Judy Shepard

Person image

In October 1998, Judy and Dennis Shepard lost their 21 year-old son, Matthew, to a murder motivated by anti-gay hate. Matthew’s death moved many thousands of people around the world to attend vigils and rallies in his memory. Determined to prevent others from suffering their son’s fate, Judy and Dennis decided to turn their grief into action and established the Matthew Shepard Foundation to carry on Matthew’s legacy. The foundation is dedicated to working toward the causes championed by Matthew during his life: social justice, diversity awareness and education, and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.

Judy Shepard is the founding president of the Matthew Shepard Foundation Board of Directors, and served as its first executive director as well, from 1999 to 2009. In her continuing role as board president, she travels across the nation speaking to audiences about what they can do as individuals and communities to make this world a more accepting place for everyone, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, sex, gender identity and expression, or sexual orientation. Speaking from a mother’s perspective, Judy also authored a 2009 memoir, The Meaning of Matthew, exploring the family’s journey through the prosecution of Matthew’s assailants, the ensuing media coverage, and their continuing work to advance civil rights. Originally trained as a teacher, Shepard holds a Bachelor of the Arts degree in Secondary Education from the University of Wyoming where she later pursued some post-graduate studies. She and Dennis continue to make their home in Casper, Wyoming.

Recent Cathedral Appearances

Parking at the Cathedral

Parking in the Cathedral’s underground garage is free on Sundays for services and organ recitals; parking for concerts and programs is available for an event-parking fee. Learn more about parking options for individuals and groups.