The American Embassy in Iceland and GayIceland.is host a screening of the documentary “Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine” this evening at Bíó Paradís. An on-line Q and A session with the film’s director, Michele Josue, executive director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, Jason Marsden, and Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons, Randy Berry, will follow.
In 1998 the news was full of the horrific details surrounding a homophobic attack on the night of October 6th. Matthew, then a freshman at the University of Wyoming, was kidnapped by two men, tortured, and left tied to a fence. In the film the director, a close friend of Matthew’s, revisits significant places and moments throughout his life. “She wanted to introduce the world to Matthew; who he really was, the person behind all the headlines,” says Editor-in-Chief of GayIceland.is, Roald Eyvindsson.
When planning the event, Roald says it was discussed whether the documentary, focusing on events prior to and around 1998, would be relevant to today’s audience. “But we decided, with everything going on in the world, it was necessary to address the issue of hate crimes,” Roald says. “And then we saw the horrible things happening this last weekend in Orlando and it’s obvious, so long as there remains a threat to people, it is relevant to this day.”
GayIceland.is reached out to the U.S. Embassy in the hopes of hosting a screening of the film during June–LGBT Pride month in the United States. The Embassy connected GayIceland to the U.S. State Department and today’s programme is the result of a collaborative effort between the two. The film will be screened in forty other countries at the same time. “It sums up a lot of things for me,” Roald continues. “For decades we’ve been harassed, abused, killed for being who we are. And Matthew’s story reflects that reality.”
Audience members are encouraged to send questions to the panel using the hashtag #LGBTIrights. You can also follow the discussion online at Share.America.gov/LGBTIchat.
The film begins tonight, June 14 at 17:30 at Bíó Paradís.