The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson

Documentary Films | 2017 | 105 minutes

SIFF Says:

Marsha P. Johnson was a legendary New York drag queen, a veteran of the Stonewall Riots, and, as a co-founder of the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR), a prominent figure in the gay and transgender liberation movements. On July 6, 1992, her dead body was found in the Hudson River near Christopher Street. She was 46 years old. The police ruled the death a suicide and investigated no further, but those close to her and in her community suspected murder. 25 years later, crime-victim advocate Victoria Cruz of the New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP) has reopened this investigation, only one of many cold cases on file, hoping to shed some light on Johnson’s death. “They’re yelling out from their graves for justice,” Cruz says of the LGBTQ and HIV-affected communities the AVP focuses on. “If we can’t bring justice for Marsha, how can we bring justice for all these other unsolved cases?” As Cruz attempts to get to the bottom of the death by interviewing friends and family and contacting law-enforcement officials who want nothing more to do with the case, Oscar® -nominated director David France (How to Survive a Plague, SIFF 2012) provides a bevy of archival videos, chronicling Marsha’s life and her place as a true pioneer in the history of the modern trans movement.

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Film Credits
David France
Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Victoria Cruz
SIFF 2017