Wednesday, August 14, 2019

New film charts rise of Detroit gay rights icon Jeffrey Montgomery

Posted By on Wed, Aug 14, 2019 at 7:12 PM

click to enlarge Jeffrey Montgomery. - PHOTO COURTESY OF DANIEL LAND
  • Photo courtesy of Daniel Land
  • Jeffrey Montgomery.

Jeffrey Montgomery, a Detroit LGBTQ+ rights activist and public relations executive, is the focus of a new film titled America You Kill Me.

Montgomery, who served as public relations director of Orchestra Hall and later the nationally broadcast Thanksgiving Day Parade, was not active in LGBTQ+ communities or their struggle for civil rights until tragedy struck. His partner was shot outside of a gay nightclub in Detroit in the late 1980s, which spurred his pivot into political activism. The film, currently in its final stages of editing, follows Montgomery as he joins the fight for equality and the ongoing struggle for equal treatment in the Midwest.

Though Montgomery died in 2016, much of the actual filming took place before he passed away. Earlier versions of the film have been shown to small audiences at events like the Detroit Free Press Film Festival. Producer John Montgomery tells MT the goal is to get the film in front of influential audiences, like at the Sundance Film Festival, as well as to inspire the next generation of activists.

According to Montgomery, the film needs more donations to get it finished and ready for release. Those interested in donating can do so on the film’s website.

“More than ever, we need young activists to have like the sharpest possible tools in their toolbox,” he says. “Jeff can be a mentor to future activists, even even now that he's gone away. And that's really one of the ways that we look at telling his story — providing an example to people who are trying to make change right now.”

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