SFU Surrey will this month host the Metro Vancouver premiere of an award-winning documentary movie about a Surrey-raised murder victim.
The 25-minute My Name Was January film eulogizes January Marie Lapuz, who was stabbed to death at her home in New Westminster in September of 2012. She was 26.
A free screening will be held at SFU Surrey’s Westminster Savings Lecture Theatre on Thursday, Feb. 28 starting at 6 p.m., with a panel discussion to follow.
The event is sponsored by the SFU Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies as part of the Margaret Lowe Benston Lecture Series in Social Justice.
In a post at eventbrite.ca, department chair Lara Campbell says My Name Was January “embodies the deepest principles of social justice” and that “the department is honoured to support and honour the lives of trans women.”
The panel discussion will be facilitated by Jennifer Marchbank, a professor at SFU, and participants will include producer and cast member Alex Sangha, directors Elina Gress and Lenée Son and cast members Velvet Steele and Natasha Adsit.
Sangha said the project was created to pay tribute to his departed friend and ally at the Sher Vancouver, a non-profit society for LGBTQ South Asians and supporters.
“When a trans sister, January Marie Lapuz, is brutally murdered in her own home, a community reacts and her friends and other trans women of colour come to share and voice their issues, concerns, and challenges,” reads the film synopsis.
“January was seen as a bright light in the lives of many. This is a story of January, a friend, a daughter, a person. This film will not only bring justice to January, but to all women who have lost their lives. January had a beautiful soul, and now part of her soul rests in each and every one of us.”
Lapuz’s killer pleaded guilty to manslaughter and in 2014 was sentenced to eight years in prison.
My Name Was January has earned nine awards and other accolades at film festivals around the world, according to Sangha. The film is a “local, grassroots, community project shot entirely in Metro Vancouver,” he told the Now-Leader in September.
The doc is available in DVD and Blu-Ray format through Vancouver-based Moving Images Distribution (movingimages.ca).