Crime

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

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."

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Melanie Asmar is a staff writer for Westword. She joined the paper in 2009 and has won awards for her stories about education, immigration and epic legal battles. Got a tip? She'd love to hear it.
Contact: Melanie Asmar