MATT SHEPARD IS A FRIEND OF MINEMATT SHEPARD IS A FRIEND OF MINE

A personal documentary about 21-year-old college student, Matthew Shepard, who was murdered in 1998 because he was gay, won the Audience Choice Award For Best Film at the 38th Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF).  The film, MATT SHEPARD IS A FRIEND OF MINE, directed by Matthew Shepard’s childhood friend Michele Josue, also won the Greg Gund Memorial Standing Up Competition. The film takes you on a journey to learn about Matt Shepard’s charismatic personality, which is documented through family photos, vacation videos, and even his personal diary entries. Some of the film’s most compelling scenes are with Matt’s parents, Judy and Dennis. 

The winners and awards of the the 38th Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF):

Roxanne T. Mueller Audience Choice Award For Best Film
Sponsored by the Callahan Foundation
MATT SHEPARD IS A FRIEND OF MINE, Directed by Michele Josue
$5,000 cash prize 

George Gund III Memorial Central and Eastern Competition
Presented with generous support from the George Gund Foundation
LIFE FEELS GOOD, Directed by Maciej Pieprzyca (Poland)
$10,000 cash prize

Nesnadny + Schwartz Documentary Competition 
Sponsored by Nesnadny + Schwartz
THE SARNOS: A LIFE IN DIRTY MOVIES, Directed by Wiktor Ericsson
$7,500 cash prize

Greg Gund Memorial Standing Up Competition 
Presented with generous support from the George Gund Foundation
MATT SHEPARD IS A FRIEND OF MINE, Directed by Michele Josue
$5,000 cash prize

American Independents Competition 
Presented with the generous support of Alan and Marta Glazen
A BIRDER’S GUIDE TO EVERYTHING, Directed by Rob Meyer
$5,000 cash prize 

Local Heroes Competition
Presented with the generous support of Mike and Nicki Cancelliere
THE SAX MAN, Directed by Joe Siebert
$5,000 cash prize

Global Health Competition
THE STARFISH THROWERS, Directed by Jesse Roesler
$5,000 cash prize

Music Movies Competition
THE WINDING STREAM, Directed by Beth Harrington
Presented with the generous support of Jules and Fran Belkin
$5,000 cash prize

ReelWomenDirect Award for Excellence in Directing by a Woman
Presented with the generous support of Deborah Bachman Ratner
Claudia Pinto Emperador (for THE LONGEST DISTANCE)
$7,500 cash prize

Audience Choice Award for Best Short Subject
Sponsored by Howard Hanna
FOOL’S DAY, Directed by Cody Blue Snider
$1,000 Cash Prize

Best Animated Short Award*
Sponsored by Reminger Co., L.P.A
THE NUMBERLYS, Directed by Brandon Oldenburg & William Joyce
$1,000 cash prize

Best Live Action Short Award*
Sponsored by Anne Bloomberg and Alan Gordon Lipson & Judy Harris
FOR THE BIRDS, Directed by Tara Atashgah
$1,000 cash prize

*These award winners will qualify for consideration in the Short Films category of the annual Academy Awards®.

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