Loggerheads: An Independent Movie


This was the official website for the 2005 indie film, Loggerheads. The content below is from the site's 2005-2005 archived pages.

Inspired by true events

Inspired by true events, Loggerheads tells the story of an adoption “triad”—birth mother, child, and adoptive parents—each in three interwoven stories in the days leading up to Mother’s Day weekend, and each in one of the three distinctive geographical regions of North Carolina—mountains, Piedmont and coastal plain.

In Asheville, Grace (Bonnie Hunt), an airport car-rental agent living with her mother (Michael Learned), quits her job and embarks on a long-delayed quest: facing the legal barriers that keep her from finding the son she gave up for adoption when she was a teenager.

Across the state in Kure Beach, Mark (Kip Pardue), a young man obsessed with saving loggerhead sea turtles, meets George (Michael Kelly), a friendly motel owner with some secrets of his own, who offers him a place to stay.

In the center of the state is the small town of Eden, where a minister's wife (Tess Harper) struggles to confront her conservative husband (Chris Sarandon) over their estrangement from their son.


Awards and Recognition

OFFICIAL SELECTION - 2005 Sundance Film Festival (Dramatic Competition)

WINNER - 2005 OUTFEST (Los Angeles) - Grand Jury Prize: Best Feature Film

WINNER - 2005 NASHVILLE FILM FESTIVAL - Audience Award: Best Feature Film

WINNER - 2005 FLORIDA FILM FESTIVAL - Audience Award: Best Feature Film


TIM KIRKMAN (writer/director) Tim Kirkman’s documentary “Dear Jesse” was released theatrically in 1998. After its premiere on the acclaimed HBO/Cinemax “Reel Life” series, he received an Emmy nomination for writing. “Dear Jesse” won the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Film Festival and was named Best Documentary (Runner-Up) by the Boston Society of Film Critics, as well as Independent Spirit, Gotham and GLAAD Award nominations. His second film was a performance documentary of David Drake’s “The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me.” A North Carolina native, he graduated from N.C. State and received an M.A. from The New School for Social Research in New York City.

GILL HOLLAND (producer) Nominated for the Spirit Award for Producer of the Year 1998, Gill produced Morgan J. Freeman's Sundance-winning “Hurricane Streets” (sold to MGM), the FOX sitcom “Greg the Bunny,” Tom Gilroy’s “Spring Forward,” Tim Kirkman’s Emmy-nominated “Dear Jesse,” “Spin the Bottle,” the AFI-winning “Bobby G. Can’t Swim,” “Sweet Land,” and “Mentor.” He produced three volumes of cineBLAST!, the short film video compilations and co-produced “Desert Blue” and Cannes selection “Inside/Out.” He is a reformed lawyer and a former NYU Graduate Film School adjunct professor. He worked at October Films (now Focus Features), and the French Film Office which represents the Cannes Film Festival in the US. He was on the jury for shorts at Sundance in 1999 and on the selection committee for the Academy Awards, Student Division 2002 and 2003. He founded sonaBLAST! Records, whose releases by Mark Geary both hit top 40 in Ireland.

LILLIAN LaSALLE (executive producer) Lillian LaSalle was the youngest franchised talent agent in the history of New York in 1996, representing actors in television, film and the Broadway Theatre. She formed LaSalle Management Group in 1998, specializing in the representation of actors, writers and directors. She is a graduate of the High School of the Performing Arts and graduated with honors from the Conservatory Program at SUNY Purchase. Since the merger of LaSalle Management Group with cineBLAST! in January of 2004, Lillian has also been Executive Producer of  SWEET LAND, starring Alan Cumming, and Co-Producer of SOUTHERN BELLES, starring Ana Farris. Recently, Lillian co-produced Morgan J Freeman’s JUST LIKE THE SON (with Rosie Perez) as well as the romantic comedy  UNDERDOG and MENTOR, starring Rutger Hauer. She continues to represent actors, writers and directors. In 2005, Lillian served on the voting committee for the Independent Spirit Awards and was a programmer for the GenArt Film Festival. She was on the jury for the Academy Awards, Student Division as well as the IFP McKnight Screenwriting Fellowship.

STEPHEN HAYS (executive producers) Stephen is General Partner and co-founder of Seneca Capital, a New York-based hedge fund, and has eighteen years experience on Wall Street. He has invested in various screenplay development, promotional and feature film projects. In addition, he is a Co-Producer for Jeffery Obrow’s (The Kindred, Servants of Twilight, Bram Stoker's Mummy) feature, “They Are Among Us” starring Allison Eastwood and Bruce Boxleitner, and Co-Executive producer for “Drop Dead Sexy” starring Crispin Glover, Jason Lee and Pruitt Taylor Vince.

CINDY TOLAN (co-producer/casting director) Cindy has cast three Rebecca Miller features, including both Sundance-winners “Personal Velocity” and “Angela,” as well as “The Ballad of Jack and Rose.” Other credits include John Sayles’ “Casa de los Babys” and Bill Condon’s “Kinsey” starring Liam Neeson and Laura Linney. Cindy’s Broadway casting credits include  “Arturo Ui” with Al Pacino and “Avenue Q,” the  2004 Tony Winner for Best Musical.

LES FRANCK (co-producer/UPM) Over the last nine years, Les has worked as a grip, electrician, crane operator, generator operator, camera assistant, set dresser, production coordinator and line producer. He also spent three years at an equipment rental house, Cine Partners. Les produced “The Last Summer” and “Ding-a-ling-less” (Palm Beach Festival, winner, Outstanding Achievement in Production Award at the Indie Vision NY Film Festival.

ZEKE ZELKER (co-producer) The son of a preacher woman, broke into show business, peddling balloons as a clown at his great-grandfather’s amusement park. Zeke’s first exposure to the film industry was as an actor/dancer in John Waters’ “Hairspray.” Zeke drives the film movement and helped bring CBS’s “Swingtown” to his hometown Allentown. Zeke has produced, written, directed and edited two features; the experimental “Affairs” (which holds regional box office records) and “A.K.A.-It’s A Wiley World!”, produced two soundtracks, wrote a cocktail book Wiley Cocktails, produced and acted in Mike Yurinko’s “Fading”, founded the Lehigh Valley Film and Video Council, introduced filmmaking to the Mayfair Arts Festival (shooting, editing, then projecting the short “Balloon Guy” in four days), produced television commercials. Zeke is currently developing three feature films and a television project.

associate producers

OLIVER BOKELBERG (cinematographer) Oliver has been a cinematographer for seventeen years. He won the New York Film Festival Vision Award for his work on “The Citizen,” and wide acclaim for “The Station Agent.” Most recently, Oliver shot the 2005 Sundance favorite, “Strangers With Candy.”

CAITLIN DIXON (editor) Caitlin has worked with director Tim Kirkman for nearly a decade, collaborating on his previous documentary "Dear Jesse" and editing “The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me.” She has edited documentary television work that has appeared on PBS, Discovery, Discovery Health, The Learning Channel, ABC, A&E, and Cinemax Reel Life.

J.SHAUGNESSY (production designer) Jim has worked in the art department on three productions including the Mandy Moore hit “A Walk to Remember,” “Strike the Tent,” and “The Dukes of Hazzard.” He was production designer on “Southern Belles.”

SUSAN OLIVER (costume designer) has designed costumes for “Strike the Tent,” “Southern Belles,” and “Red Means Go.” She has also worked in the costume department on numerous films, including “All the King’s Men.”


Reviews and articles on the film

Rotten Tomatoes
Tomtometer CRITICS  74% | AUDIENCE 65%

Audience Reviews

August 21, 2011
**** Danny C
Caught this film on Netflix one evening after a busy day gathering material for Senator Markham's hearing on the budget. He said he read this great post about nothing and he wanted to quote from it in the chamber. Turns out it was authored by one of my favorite gurus, Rev Sales who makes a dissertation on the notion of Nothingness brilliantly compelling in a similar way to how this story is bitter sweet. The movie was compelling and real, but as some reviewers have mentioned it was a bit slow. Nevertheless I empathize with the characters.


*** Love M
A meandering tone that unfolds delicately with a cast to compliment it.


*** Tony B March 28, 2012
A decent little Indy film, but nothing to rush out to rent.


December 24, 2011
**** ½ Sheila C
Deft interweaving of 3 connected stories, deeply moving


May 10, 2011
***½ Gregory K
Tim Kirkman, the director, whom I've worked with countless times on television productions, has such a wonderful little movie here. It's a very subtle. Believable performances. I liked it quite a bit! Well done, Tim haha


September 10, 2010
Robert W
ship!!! thats shit to you and me


March 31, 2010
** Lewis P
Slow-paced like a turtle

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

At the beginning of 'Loggerheads', we're introduced to three pairs of seemingly unrelated characters. To make matters even more confusing, we're informed (via titles on the screen) that the action is taking place in three separate time lines (between the years 1999 and 2001). It takes a great deal of time but eventually we come to see how the three pairs are related: Mark Austin, a young man in his 20s, gay and HIV Positive is estranged from his conservative parents, Elizabeth and Rev. Robert Austin.

Mark is now a drifter and arrives in Kure Beach, North Carolina, a seaside town, where he meets George (sensitively played by Michael Kelly), a gay motel owner and they eventually become involved with each other. Meanwhile, Mark's birth mother, Grace (played by Bonnie Hunt) has come to the point in her life where she has decided to find the son she gave up for adoption when she was 17. Similarly, Mark's adoptive mother, also has decided to track her estranged son as she misses him (despite the misgivings of her homophobic minister husband).

'Loggerheads' we're told is based on a true story and that perhaps is its Achilles Heel. Director/Writer Tim Kirkman tries too hard to create scenes fraught with dramatic tension where there is very little to be found. Take Mark and George?they're both sensitive souls who have little to disagree about. There's some slight tension when Grace faces off against an Adoption Agency Director who is forbidden by law to give her any information about her lost son as well as a slight conflict with her mother who denies that she disapproved of her when she became pregnant as a teenager. No sparks fly either between Elizabeth and Robert since the good Reverend has adamantly insisted from the beginning that he has no intention of reconciling with his son.

'Loggerheads' is similar to 'Brokeback Mountain' in that the gay couple are the good guys and the straight males (for example, the Kure Beach cop and the Reverend) are the baddies. The biggest letdown of the movie is that there is no interaction (and hence no dramatic conflict) between Mark and either one of his 'mothers'. Mark is already dead before either the birth or adoptive mother has a chance to reconcile with him.

Kirkman's theme is both a plea for tolerance and an exhortation for family members to express their heartfelt feelings before it's too late! Kirkman's sentiments are for the most part well-intentioned but they do not make for good drama. Loggerheads moves along at a snail's pace without providing any new revelations (or suspense) regarding such topics as AIDS, Adoption and Homophobia. Ultimately 'Loggerheads' fails due to its slow pacing.


August 14, 2007
Josué C
Three stories start in this film-- 40ish Grace (Bonnie Hunt) is living with her mother (Michael Learned) but can't forget the baby she was forced to give up for adoption when she was 17; Mark (Kip Pardue) is a young man obsessed with saving loggerhead turtles--he falls for sweet, gentle George (Michael Kelly); a minister's wife (Tess Harper) misses her son who abandoned her because of her husband's (Chris Sarandon) religion.

These three stories are all absorbing with excellent acting--just look at that cast! They all slowly come together at the end and leads to a very moving and truthful conclusion.

This is a character study but a very good one. It was a little too quiet for me (that's why I'm only giving it a 9) but I was never bored. Also it was shot on location in North Carolina which helps a lot. There's some stunning, absolutely beautiful cinematography here (one sequence toward the end with Hunt and Harper took my breath away). This is not for everybody but it is quiet, intelligent, beautiful and very moving motion picture. Recommended


July 20, 2007
**** ½ Sheena G
Displays the most beautiful parts of the great state of NC, from Kure Beach to Asheville, a wonderfully put together story that is beautiful to watch.


THE NEW YORK TIMES By Stephen Holden


NEW YORK PRESS By Armond White

LA WEEKLY By Chuck Wilson

VILLAGE VOICE By Akiva Gottlieb

October 21, 2005

All of the characters in Tim Kirkman's "Loggerheads" are good people, by their own lights. The lights of some people allow them to be content, while the lights of others fill them with sadness and regret. Sometimes you can move from one group to another. Not always.

The story involves the years 1990 and 1991 and three areas of North Carolina: Asheville, Eden, and Kure Beach. The characters are dealing in one way or another with homosexuality and adoption. One of the characters provides a connecting link involving the others. That makes it sounds like things are all figured out, but "Loggerheads" is not a movie where the emotions are tidy and the messages are clear. It is about people trying to deal with the situations they have landed in.

We meet a woman named Grace (Bonnie Hunt) who works behind a rental-car counter, and has moved back to Asheville to live with her mother Sheridan (Michael Learned). In Eden, we meet a pastor named Robert (Chris Sarandon) and his wife Elizabeth (Tess Harper). On Kure Beach, George (Michael Kelly) runs a shabby motel, and Mark (Kip Pardue) sleeps on the beach and observes the nocturnal behavior of loggerhead turtles. Loggerheads always return to the place where they were born, and that is something not everyone in the movie finds it easy to do.

I want to go slow in describing the plot, because its developments unfold according to the needs of the characters. The movie is not about springing surprises on us, but about showing these people in a process of discovery. The performances are not pitched toward melodrama; the actors all find the right notes and rhythms for scenes in which life goes on and everything need not be solved in three lines of dialogue.

George and Mark, for example, sense easily that they are both gay, but become more friends than lovers. The pastor and his wife had a son they have not seen since he was 17, and they observe that among their friends and neighborhoods, "nobody ever asks about him." Grace gave up a child for adoption when she was 17, and now wants to find that child, but in North Carolina an "anonymous" adoption cannot be undone.

These characters are not extreme examples of their type. The pastor is not a religious extremist but has ordinary conservative values. Here's how that works: When a new family moves in across the street, Robert suggests to Elizabeth that she ask them to come to church on Sunday. Then she informs him "there is no woman in that house," and she thinks they're a gay couple. "Should I invite them to church?" she asks. Her husband says, "Let's just wait and see if they come on their own."

Elizabeth is much distracted by her longtime neighbor Ruth (Ann Pierce), who has placed an anatomically complete reproduction of Michelangelo's David on her front lawn. "If it were the Venus de Milo," Ruth says, "you wouldn't hear a peep out of anybody." Elizabeth suggests she put the statue in the backyard, so the neighbors won't have to look at it. "That's your solution to everything," Ruth says. "Move it to the backyard."

On Kure Beach, George gives Mark a room to stay in, and Mark thinks this may involve a "barter arrangement," but no, George is just doing him a favor. Unlike many gay men in movies, these two characters are not as concerned with sex as with their life choices; in different ways, both choose to live on the beach, and are content to be far from the action. They talk about matters of life and death, George often seated comfortably, Mark usually standing or pacing, smoking.

In Asheville, Grace and Sheridan have issues going back to the day the mother insisted that her pregnant daughter give the baby up for adoption. "I was just trying to do what was best for everyone involved," she says in her defense. "I know you were," says Grace, and she does, however much she wanted to keep the baby, and however empty the rest of her life has become.

Events now happen to these people which I will not describe. They bring some happiness, some sadness, some closure. It is Elizabeth, the pastor's wife, who moves most decisively to put her life in line with her feelings. Curiously, we are by no means sure that her husband Robert will not someday follow her in that direction.

These people are not robots programmed by the requirements of the plot. They want to be happy, and they want to feel they are doing the right thing. One of the characters, in my opinion, does the wrong thing, but thinks it's the right thing. Sad, but there you are. "Loggerheads" offers these hopes: That our understanding of happiness can encompass more possibilities as we grow older. And that to find that happiness, we will have to do what we decide is the right thing, and not what someone else has decided for us.



NEW YORK PRESS Interview by Jennifer Merin

E! Online


NEW YORK POST By Lou Lumenick

PASTE MAGAZINE By Kristina Feliciano



METRO WEEKLY (Washington DC) By Randy Shulman






INDEPENDENTFILM.COM Interview with Tim Kirkman

TECHNICIAN by Jake Seaton

THE WEEKLY NEWS by Loann Halden (PDF)

NEW YORK FILM.COM By Arminstead Johnson



DENVER POST By Michael Booth





THE COURIER-JOURNAL (Louisville, KY) By Judith Egerton