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  • The late Jeffrey Montgomery, lower right was his brother John, seated and filmmaker Daniel Land at Motor City Pride in 2016. Photo: Tih Penfil

‘America You Kill Me’: Jeffrey Montgomery Documentary On Track for 2019 Release

Eve Kucharski
By | 2018-06-12T11:05:41+00:00 June 6th, 2018|Guides, Pride Guide|

Known by many for being the face of the Midwestern LGBTQ movement for years, Jeffrey Montgomery was a highly-lauded individual. He won the the Spirit of Detroit award several times, The Advocate named him “Best and Brightest” LGBT activist in 1999 and he even received a Michiganian of the Year award from the Detroit News — among many others. Now, posthumously, it’s as if the deceased Triangle Foundation founder is set to receive another. A documentary project called “America You Kill Me” that has been in process since 2013 is finally closing in on its finishing stages and its director Daniel Land is hopeful that there will be a release in early 2019 that lines up with the Creating Change LGBTQ conference.
“That’s our intended target right now and we’re on target to do that,” Land said. “Just because it’s been going on for years and we’ve had a couple of public fundraisers, we’d like people to know that it’s moving quickly now, and we’d like to let people know where it is.”
Land said that the sudden forward motion of the project is tied directly to an influx of funding that the project received in 2017 which has allowed the self-described “very independent operation” to start tying up loose ends and project hurdles. However, Land said what could make the project go faster is help from the community. He said that the film’s forward progress could be increased if locals who once knew Montgomery had any footage of him, about him, photographs of him at events or were willing to share how he had impacted them during his life and activism.
Additionally, Land said he is in the process of editing an early cut of the film that he would like to submit to film festivals sometime in fall. Currently, the movie has a variety of recorded interviews both with Montgomery before he died, his brothers, several politicians like Jennifer Granholm and Dennis Archer and various local LGBT activists like LGBT Detroit Executive Director Curtis Lipscomb.
Land said that as the end of the project draws nearer he is also looking into using different samples of archived footage.
“There’s a lot of stuff on TV a lot and we’ve acquired — a lot of the material that we need to work with — but we don’t know what that’s ultimately going to cost to license and we won’t know until the film’s pretty close to done, and so we need to know how much we’re using and what of which pieces we’re using,” Land said. “We’ve got an estimate for that, but if that gets to be a lot more than we thought, I could see us doing another little fundraiser for licensing fees.”
When asked what the film means to him as an ally, Land said that the whole point of the project is the “amplification” of Montgomery’s work.
“In terms of the audiences that we want to connect with are one, people who are familiar with it who were maybe involved or had a recollection or living through this history … then young activists where this is like a historical document saying, ‘This is where we were, and this is where we are now,’ Land said. “But the other group that I’m interested in reaching is people that maybe lean a little bit more conservative who have seen things change and they’re a little new to it but they’re open to it. Or, even people who are closed to it. I’d like them to see this film and maybe have their minds opened to it and to understand what this struggle was and to understand what people sacrificed. In some ways it’ll be a gay rights 101 for people who are new, and a deep dive for those who are more familiar.
More information about the film and its content can be found online at americayoukillme.com. The website also contains a contact page with an email and phone number to reach out about content featuring Jeffrey Montgomery.

About the Author:

Eve Kucharski
Writing became my life when I enrolled at Michigan State University's journalism program. In May 2017, I earned my bachelor's degree in journalism with a concentration in electronic news media. I am thrilled to be working as an editorial assistant at Between The Lines.