Logline: Passions re-ignite and secrets revealed when a graphic designer reconnects with the great, lost love of his life for a weekend tryst at a house in the desert near Joshua Tree.
Length: 87 minutes
Director: Tim Kirkman
Producer: Tim Kirkman and Todd Shotz
Writer: Tim Kirkman
Tim Kirkman received Emmy, GLAAD, Gotham and Spirit Award nominations for his first film, DEAR JESSE, winner of the Audience Award at Frameline and named Best Documentary of the Year by the Boston Society of Film Critics. He also wrote and directed LOGGERHEADS, which debuted at Sundance, and won the Grand Jury Prize at Outfest. He also directed a film of David Drake's play THE NIGHT LARRY KRAMER KISSED ME.
Key cast: Lucas Near-Verbrugghe, Aaron Costa Ganis and Michaela Watkins
Sales rep - Glen Reynolds, Circus Road Films
Made in association with: T42 Entertainment
Release date:: tbc 2017
Where can I watch it? FrameLine, Outfest, Provincetown International Film Festival, QFlix, Kansas City Out Here Now Festival, Denver Film Society Q Cinema and many more.
Congratulations! Why did you make your 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 watch 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 personal and universal themes work 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.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development and production?
The original screenplay is longer, as most screenplays are. The actors I worked with on LAZY EYE are phenomenal, trained, nuanced, smart… they know that the work they do is sometimes just a look or a gesture, which is always better. And LAZY EYE is a talky movie, but I cut a lot of dialogue out, some before we shot, some as we shot, and some in the editing room. A lot in the editing room, especially Alex’s character.
The actor, Aaron Costa Ganis, is such a powerful onscreen presence that we realized quickly in the editing room that his Alex needed to be the one who said less and observed more. He’s more mysterious. I overwrote Alex, I see now, but that’s what’s so wonderful about casting someone as terrific as Aaron. He brought the gravity to the character and he never judged him.
Lucas Near-Verbrugghe, who plays Dean, was the same — he never judged the character, which I think is essential. I love these characters a lot, and it is largely due to Lucas and Aaron. They also made suggestions throughout the production of things to keep and to cut. It was the most collaborative experience I have ever had on a film and by far the most enjoyable.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
Most feedback has been internal, meaning my team and our friends and family, so it has been supportive. One thing that comes up a lot is how the film ends. People have wildly different reactions. I think it depends a lot on where viewers are in their own lives. I can’t wait to see how audiences respond.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
More than any other film I have made, and this is my fifth feature, getting feedback about the film or notes or critical responses during the process was a joy. I loved hearing what people were responding to, or understanding, or taking for granted, or not seeing.
It was so fun to go back to the edit room and talk with Caitlin Dixon, our editor. She’s an amazing storyteller and this is our fourth collaboration, so we have a deep understanding of each other and how we talk about narrative. We rarely disagree, which is wonderful in the editing room. When we do, it’s a healthy disagreement and always born out of an effort to make the film better, however you define that.
We both love old movies from the seventies, so that informs a lot of our conversation, and I have to say with LAZY EYE, we moved away from those ideas somewhat, even though there are scenes with lots of dialogue and silence and so many things people avoid these days in cinema. We wanted to make sure LAZY EYE had an immediacy to it. And I think it does have that feeling.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible onwww.wearemovingstories.com?
I want to make people aware that it exists and to encourage people to see it and share it. The more people who know about it, the better.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
We are just preparing for our first public screening next week in Provincetown and then immediately at Frameline in San Francisco, so my main goal is to get people to see it at those venues. We’re looking for both domestic and international distribution, so that’s the other thing. I believe there’s a huge audience for this film, beyond the LGBT one, that will respond to the story and to these two characters.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
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 a debate or begin a conversation about 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.
Would you like to add anything else?
Thanks for the questions - they’re really good. I hope people will be interested in seeing the film and sharing our trailer and artwork on social media. I am so grateful to have been able to make this film with the people I worked with and for it to have been such a good experience.
What are the key creatives developing or 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.
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela