Angie Zapata: Film about Greeley transgender teen's life and death to premiere tomorrow

angie zapata cropped.jpg
Angie Zapata.
In July 2008, eighteen-year-old Angie Zapata of Greeley was beaten to death by a 32-year-old man she met online. In April 2009, a jury found that man guilty of murder. What's more, they convicted him of a hate crime, finding that he had killed Angie because she was transgender.

Tomorrow, a documentary about Angie's life and death, Photos of Angie, will premiere at the XicanIndie Film Fest in Denver.

The documentary, by local filmmaker Alan Dominguez of Loco Lane Films, features interviews with Angie's family and friends, gay-rights activists who were involved in the case, Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, as well as myself. I live-blogged the trial for Westword and subsequently wrote a cover story about the case: "Who was Angie Zapata?" A panel discussion featuring the filmmaker and others will follow the film, which starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $7.

See a description and trailer of the film below.

This haunting yet hopeful documentary tells the story of Angie Zapata, a transgender teen who was murdered in rural Greeley, Colorado in 2008. The film moves between the trial of her killer, Angie's brief life and self-discovery told through family and friends, and the fruition of national hate crime legislation with Angie's case very much in the foreground as it was the first time that a transgender murderer was successfully prosecuted under hate crime laws. Told in five movements, one per day of the trial of Angie's killer, the film features a classical score by Mackenzie Gault of the national touring band The Flobots and additional music by L.A.-based band Ozomatli. The film reveals Angie's simple life in the context of a complicated struggle juxtaposed with her violent death at the hands of a man whose true nature is finally revealed.

For a slideshow of photos of Angie, see "From Justin to Angie: The transformation of Angie Zapata."

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People keep calling him Angie but there was no surgery. She is a he until surgery takes place. I don't think anyone deserves to die except murderers but he deceived men. It's naturally going to enrage someone. They guy did not deserve life, maybe 20 years, but not life.

Kelli Anne Busey
Kelli Anne Busey

Angie's life forever changes how we view being transgender and her death redefines the punishment for hate crimes.


@Kelli Anne Busey I don't think it's a hate crime if the transgender person deceives one into thinking he is really a she, sleeps with that heterosexual, then the guy finds out and naturally would snap.. I don't condone killing whatsoever, but he deceived the guy. Most would snap, maybe not kill and be that drastic but most would snap and beat the person up. It's an instinct. It would enrage anyone. I hope the guy gets out in another 15 years or so. That's about all this dude deserves. It's just like a case of when a husband finds his wife in bed with another man, he snaps and kills. They usually give that person a shorter sentence because it's not premeditated.

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