TransParent producer Natasha T. Miller, event host Doice John, and Lyniece Nelson and Brandie Brown, mother and sister of Shelly Treasure Moore, pose for a photo at the Hotter Than July Film Festival.

HTJ Film Festival Brings Attention Back To Tragic Transgender Teen Murder In Detroit

By Jason A. Michael

DETROIT - The Hotter Than July Film Festival drew a crowd of about 100 people to the Cass City Cinema on Thursday evening. The event was hosted by Doice John and featured gay films old and new.

"We did a film submission competition to allow filmmakers nationwide to submit films," said Chris "Tall Guy" Sutton, the event's chairman. "Our committee reviewed any submitted film and selections were made by a vote."

Sutton said the committee wanted to find films that others may have overlooked.

"One of our main focuses was to highlight obscure black lgbt films," he said. "A lot of these films are not highlighted or getting exposure because there aren't a lot of festivals focusing on black lgbt films."

Films shown included the animated sci-fi feature Strange Frame, Money Matters, Marlon Riggs' classic documentary Tongues Untied and an episode from the upcoming second season of The DL Chronicles called Thomas.

In addition, attendees were treated to the trailer from "TransParent," the upcoming documentary that tells the story of Detroit transgender teen Shelly "Treasure" Moore, who was murdered and her body mutilated in 2011.

"I heard about the story from a friend," said the film's producer, Natasha T. Miller. "It kind of just stuck with me. I didn't know why it resonated so deeply with me."

In attendance was also Lyniece Nelson, Shelly's mother.

"Shelly loved basically everybody she came in contact with," Nelson said. "All she wanted to do was help people."

Nelson said she hopes the film will show that her daughter "was not somebody who was confused about she was because she knew exactly who she was."

Since her daughter's death, Nelson has become a mother figure to many transgender teens in the area.

"What I don't understand is how you can love a child growing up but then you find out this child is not who you perceive them to be and you disassociate your love from them," she said.

Miller is still raising funds to finish production on the film. To contribute, visit

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