Movie News: Love, Jamie – Now on PBS, Grand Jury Prize Winner at 2023 OUTFEST

SYNOPSIS: LOVE, JAMIE explores the story of artist Jamie Diaz, a trans woman and self-taught artist who has spent nearly 30 years in a men’s prison in Texas. Cast: Jamie Diaz, Gabriel Joffe, Daniel Cooney

LOVE, JAMIE is a film about pride, chosen family, and the transcendent power of art.

In 2013, Gabriel Joffe was volunteering for an organization advocating for LGBTQ+ people who are incarcerated when they happened upon a letter written by Jamie Diaz. Joffe was captivated by the elaborate, colorful illustrations that adorned the letter and felt compelled to write back. Hundreds of letters and phone calls later, a profound friendship formed between Diaz and Joffe. Though physically separated by walls and miles, the pair have sustained each other through pivotal life moments, including gender transition.

During her incarceration, Jamie Diaz became an ever more prolific artist, spending her days in her cell creating works of art with limited supplies. With brushes fashioned out of human hair, she embarked on a mission to produce the most extensive collection of queer-themed art worldwide. She began sending her growing body of paintings and comics to Joffe, who archived and cataloged them on a website where they caught the eye of Daniel Cooney, owner of a New York City gallery well known for bringing largely unknown artists into the public eye. Cooney and Joffe would mount Jamie Diaz’s first solo exhibition, while she remained confined a thousand miles away in prison.

A STATEMENT FROM ARTIST JAMIE DIAZ: Being a part of this film has brought lots of joy and good people into my life, and I feel so blessed and honored to be in such a position to share my art with the world. It’s been a fantastic experience, to be sure.

Creating art is what I do. I’ve always done art and will do it as long as possible. I don’t just want my work to look good, I want it to have some significance that people can relate to, which is why most of my art are representations of the human spirit and the queer and trans experience. I am deeply inspired by LGBTQ+ people and the beautiful queer lives we live, and it’s really important for me to share that.

What I would like audiences to take away from the film is love and understanding. To look at my art and the story of my friendship with Gabriel and feel the love, hope, and pride we share. It is my hope that the film will also help to open the hearts of those who don’t know people like us. I believe it is important to shed as much light as possible on inequality as well as show the humanity, integrity, and courage of our people. (Statement provided by the filmmakers and PBS.)

IMPORTANT UPDATE: In January 2024, Jamie experienced a major stroke and was transferred to a prison medical facility. As of May 2024, she has served 29 years in prison and was recently granted parole. Her release date has been scheduled for Friday, May 31, just days before the June 3rd premiere of the film on American Masters. Jamie’s stroke has impacted her mobility, dexterity, and communication. She is improving every day and hopes to return to painting soon.

LOVE, JAMIE was directed and edited by Emmy-nominated news doc producer & director Karla Murthy, who grew up in Texas (like Jamie). It was produced and shot by veteran filmmaker Andrew Fredericks and executive produced by acclaimed trans filmmaker Zackary Drucker (The Stroll, The Lady and the Dale, Transparent).

Said Houston, Texas, raised NYC-based director Karla Murthy, “As Jamie’s incredible story of perseverance becomes more important every day, we want to offer this film as a celebration of life and resiliency and dignity. This film tells a story about a beautiful friendship, creating one’s chosen family, and the restorative power of art.” Jamie said it best, “I believe it is important to shed as much light as possible on inequality, as well as show the integrity, courage, beauty, and love of our people.” (Statement provided by the filmmakers and PBS.)

“LOVE, JAMIE is the powerful and exuberant trans story we need right now: a life-affirming documentary of one incarcerated trans woman’s journey towards acceptance through her art,” said Executive Producer Zackary Drucker (Trans filmmaker The Stroll, The Lady and the Dale, Transparent). (Statement provided by the filmmakers and PBS.)

Producer & DP: Andrew Fredericks, Original Music: Andrew Yee, Executive Producer for American Masters: Michael Kantor, Series Producer for American Masters: Julie Sacks, Series Producer for American Masters Shorts: Joe Skinner, Film Info:

The film won the 2023 OUTFEST Grand Jury Prize for Outstanding Documentary Short at its premiere in Los Angeles and has been shown at numerous festivals, including DOC NYC.

American Masters Shorts Series Premiere: June 3, 2024, in honor of LGBTQIA+ Pride Month. The entire film will be viewable here: on the following release platforms: PBS Org: PBS App: American Masters Youtube Channel:

American Masters Shorts Series Info:

A Production of Greene Fort Productions LLC in association with American Masters Pictures.

DIRECTOR BIO: Karla Murthy is a Houston, Texas raised, NYC based Emmy-nominated producer, and has been working on news documentaries for over 15 years as a producer, shooter and correspondent for several PBS news programs. Her award-winning work was described in the Columbia Journalism Review as “compelling, informative and compassionate.” Her directorial debut, the feature documentary The Place That Makes Us screened at numerous film festival awards and premiered nationally on America ReFramed and PBS platforms. She is currently producing her next feature documentary, The Gas Station Attendant, a co-production with ITVS and Firelight Media. Karla grew up in Texas and is of Filipino and South Asian descent. She graduated from Oberlin College, is an alum of the Third World Newsreel Workshop and the Documentary Institute at Antioch College in Ohio, and is a Brown Girls Doc Mafia and Film Fatales member.

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