Saturday, June 11, 2005


With the approach of storm Arlene, the obvious thing to do was attend the Atlanta Film Festival. This afternoon's show was Loggerheads. Set in North Carolina over three different Mother's Days, the film explored searching for identity and birthright. Below, I shall provide a link to a synopsis of the film and cast, including the producer Gill Holland who appeared after the screening for a Q& A. I asked him about the story on which the film is based, and he elaborated some details such as how they softened the image of the preacher. We also asked about future "screenings." The film was picked up by the Sundance Channel and is scheduled for showing next summer. Showtime had made an offer as well; but the Sundance offer was better.

I don't want to be a spoiler and give away the film's intertwined mysteries which were presented in a compelling way. I liked the use of the loggerhead turtles both as a symbol and as an essential element of the story, giving insight into the main character and his values. The locales were also used well: a beach community near Wilmington, Asheville, and the foothills not far from Charlotte. All three cities are shown and a feel for their region is nicely portrayed.

The film certainly embodies the South and its personal conflicts. North Carolina's unreasonably strict adoption law is exposed. Religion is given a brief, interesting study, as well, with short, perhaps ironic, references to a few Biblical passages. Always apropos.

The film though is about character, identity, love, and human dignity. At the end, the audience all applauded -- not for the ending itself, but for the film's honesty. Here's the synopsis with http footnote:

Sundance Film Spotlight - Tim Kirkman's 'Loggerheads'

Tim Kirkman’s LOGGERHEADS is easily one of the front runners to win the award for best film in the Dramatic Competition at this years Sundance Film Festival. Inspired by a true story, and set in three different geographical regions of North Carolina, LOGGERHEADS follows the journey of Mark (KIP PARDUE), a soft-spoken drifter in his twenties who makes a pilgrimage to a small coastal town near Wilmington in order to save the endangered Loggerhead turtles that nest on the beach in the summer. Mark’s journey brings us into contact with three other characters, each at the crossroads of their lives: George (MICHAEL KELLY) a local motel owner who, until now, has avoided dealing with his emotions; Grace (BONNIE HUNT), a middle-aged woman recovering from a breakdown, has returned to her hometown in the mountains near Asheville to stay with her mother (MICHAEL LEARNED). Plagued by the desire to fill an emotional void, Grace embarks on a search for the child she secretly gave up for adoption when she was a teenager; and Elizabeth (TESS HARPER), who has lived a fishbowl existence as the wife of a minister (CHRIS SARANDON) for twenty-five years in a small town in the foothills of the state. When her safe, sheltered neighborhood starts to change around her, Elizabeth must decide whether to stand by her conservative husband’s beliefs or take a stand on her own. At the heart of this tale of disparate lives running intertwined is the discovery on the importance of connections Tim Kirkman directs based on his own screenplay (inspired by a true story). Bonnie Hunt, Kip Pardue, Tess Harper, Chris Sarandon and Michael Kelly star in Loggerheads with Michael Learned, Robin Weigert and Ann Owens-Pierce.

TIM KIRKMAN (Writer/Director) Cowboy Pictures released Tim Kirkman’s film debut, the documentary DEAR JESSE, theatrically in 1998. After its cable television debut on the highly acclaimed HBO/Cinemax “Reel Life” series, Mr. Kirkman was honored with an Emmy nomination for his writing. Previously, DEAR JESSE won the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (Best Documentary, Audience Award) and was named Best Documentary of the Year (Runner-Up) by the Boston Society of Film Critics. DEAR JESSE also received Independent Spirit, Gotham and GLAAD Award nominations. The film is currently on the Sundance Channel. His second film, THE NIGHT LARRY KRAMER KISSED ME, a film adaptation of David Drake’s Obie-winning play, was released theatrically in 2000 by FilmNext to wide acclaim. Mr. Kirkman was born and raised in North Carolina. He received his bachelor’s degree from the School of Design at North Carolina State University and a Masters Degree from The New School for Social Research in New York City. He moved to New York City in 1990.

GILL HOLLAND (Producer) Nominated for the Spirit Award for Producer of the Year 1998, Gill Holland produced Morgan J. Freeman's Sundance-winning 'Hurricane Streets', the FOX sitcom “Greg the Bunny”, “Spring Forward” (on many critics’ top ten lists for 2001), the Emmy-nominated “Dear Jesse,” and AFI-winning “Bobby G. Can’t Swim.” He is developing a movie about “The Wright Brothers”. He produced three volumes of cineBLAST!, the short film video compilations. He was associate producer on “Dot the I” and “Jump Tomorrow” and co-produced “Desert Blue” and Cannes selection “Inside/Out”. He is a half-Norwegian, half North Carolinian reformed lawyer and former adjunct professor at NYU Graduate Film School. He worked briefly at October Films (now Focus Features) and spent three years at the French Film Office which represents the Cannes Film Festival in the US. He sits on several film festival boards and was on the jury for shorts at Sundance in 1999 and selection committee for the Academy Awards, Student Division 2002 and 2003. He started the music label sonaBLAST! Records, whose releases by Mark Geary both hit top 40 in Ireland.

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