About the film
Winner of the Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Documentary (tied with Michael Moore's THE BIG ONE), DEAR JESSE won the Audience Award at Frameline and was nominated for EMMY, Gotham, Independent Spirit, and GLAAD Awards in 1998. Its cable TV premiere on the HBO/Cinemax "Reel Life" series featured new footage of an interview with Matthew Shepard, the young gay man whose brutal murder in Laramie, Wyoming, captured the attention of the world and raised awareness of hate crimes.
A first-person, subjective point-of-view documentary, DEAR JESSE is a filmed "letter" to Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) whose name became synonymous with anti-gay attitudes from gay filmmaker Tim Kirkman. Both Helms and Kirkman come from the same small town in rural North Carolina and have many other similarities, including (as Kirkman jokes) their obsessions with homosexual men.