POSTED ON Sep 23, 2016 BY Three Dollar Bill Cinema
Tim Kirkman received Emmy, GLAAD, Gotham, and Spirit Award nominations for his first feature film, DEAR JESSE, which won the Audience Award at Frameline and was named Best Documentary of the Year by the Boston Society of Film Critics. He also wrote and directed LOGGERHEADS, which debuted at Sundance, and went on to win the Grand Jury Prize at Outfest. He also directed a film adaptation of David Drake's play, THE NIGHT LARRY KRAMER KISSED ME.
Congratulations! What inspired you to make this film?
I had been writing some larger-scale films for the past three years, both historical, and really longed for the intimacy of a smaller story. I missed directing so much and decided that I wanted to get a movie made within a year. The only reasonable script I had in my desk that could potentially do that was LAZY EYE. So, with my manager Robin Budd’s encouragement, I dusted it off and set out to produce it. It was really born out of a longing to work. And the other reason was that, in the wake of marriage equality, I saw an opportunity to tell a story we had not seen before in LGBT cinema.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I go see this film?
If you’re a person who likes films about relationships that are complicated and contradictory and naturalistic, I would say this is a film for you. You should watch it because, I promise, at some point in your life, you are likely to be in the position of one or both of these main characters. I promise.
How do you express personal and universal themes in your film?
Everything I write is personal and, therefore, I believe, universal. I’m not so special that I am the only person who has ever experienced something that no one else has experienced before. I don’t see much point in making films unless you’re interested in connection, even when the films are deliberately challenging or dare you not to like them or ask you to place yourself in circumstances you might not choose to be in. If there’s anything that guides my work is it’s a desire for empathy. I don’t think we have enough of that in the world these days. Connection — that is something I see at work in my films, at least so far. I look for it in my life, too. But I’m not saying I am successful always, with either, but I think the attempt to connect is heroic, even if it doesn’t end up the way we always would like for it to be.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have with the public?
I would love for LAZY EYE to start a conversation about how challenging it can be to look at yourself and accept the decisions you have made in life. That’s a universal luxury we have — self-reflection. And I say “luxury” only in the sense that we live in a country that isn’t war-torn or with a collapsing infrastructure! The mid-life crisis is real. And it can cause great upheaval in your life, believe me. I know this firsthand! But it’s also a time to let go of so many things and start to accept new ideas and possibilities. I’d love to hear audiences and critics writing about that as opposed to things like the budget of the film or the nudity, for example.
What’s a key question that will help spark conversation around this film?
“If you could spend a weekend alone with an “ex" from your past that you get to choose, and not know how it was going to end, would you do it?” I think that’s a great place to start a conversation.
What are you and your team working on now? I have written a movie about Walter Jenkins, Lyndon Johnson’s Chief of Staff, called MR. FIX-IT, that I hope to set up this year, and I’m working on a TV series idea that I’m super excited about. Todd Shotz, my producing partner, and I are also looking for something new for me to direct. I’d love to direct something I did not write for my next project after MR. FIX-IT.