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'Julio of Jackson Heights' Will Screen Twice This Week to Close Out Pride

By Katie Honan | June 29, 2016 5:32pm
 The documentary tells the story of Julio Rivera, who was killed in Jackson Heights. 
The documentary tells the story of Julio Rivera, who was killed in Jackson Heights. 
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Julio of Jackson Heights

JACKSON HEIGHTS — A documentary about the killing of Julio Rivera, whose death prompted the Queens LGBTQ movement, will screen twice this week in Queens, its director said.

"Julio of Jackson Heights" premiered last year and features decades of filming from Richard Shpuntoff, who has documented the Queens Pride parade since its inception.

The documentary won the Social Impact Award at this year's Queens World Film Festival and will be honored Wednesday by Borough President Melinda Katz at her Pride event.

It will also screen Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Elmhurst Hospital Auditorium, and on Friday at 7 p.m. at Queens Theatre.

Both screenings are free, although the Queens Theatre showing requires a reservation, Shpuntoff said.

"Julio of Jackson Heights" features interviews with neighbors who talk about previous murders of gay men in the neighborhood in the 1970s and 1980s. 

Rivera was beaten to death on July 2, 1990, in the P.S. 69 schoolyard, and his killing was investigated first as drug-related.

It was Rivera's family and friends who fought for the truth about his death that later emboldened the LGBTQ community, which was still mostly secret.