Dear Jesse

Overview

In this personal documentary, gay filmmaker Tim Kirkman breaks up with his lover in New York and returns to his home state of North Carolina where he talks to numerous people in an effort to gain an understanding of North Carolina's homophobic senator, Jesse Helms. Kirkman's interviews include the widow of a former Helms associate whose son died of AIDS, and a gay elected official who views Helms as evil. Observing that Helms is "obsessed with homosexual men -- and so am I," Kirkman concludes that many attack ...
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Overview

In this personal documentary, gay filmmaker Tim Kirkman breaks up with his lover in New York and returns to his home state of North Carolina where he talks to numerous people in an effort to gain an understanding of North Carolina's homophobic senator, Jesse Helms. Kirkman's interviews include the widow of a former Helms associate whose son died of AIDS, and a gay elected official who views Helms as evil. Observing that Helms is "obsessed with homosexual men -- and so am I," Kirkman concludes that many attack Helms in a manner not much different from the way Helms denounces those who are gay. Black-and-white footage used for New York scenes is seen in contrast to colorful North Carolina footage. Shown at the 1997 Boston Film Festival.
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Special Features

Bonus scenes; DVD trailer; Director and producer audio commentary; Includes and interview with Matthew Shepard; Filmmakers' bios; Senator Helms: In His Own Words
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Tom Wiener
Gay director Tim Kirkman's film about Senator Jesse Helms might have been a screed against a notoriously homophobic politician, but it's amazingly light on its feet, beginning with Kirkman's offhand admission that both he and Helms are obsessed with gay men. Ignoring fellow North Carolinian Thomas Wolfe's dictum, Kirkman does go home again and finds that in his several years away from the state, things have changed for its gay citizens, mostly for the better. Some of this is a matter of perception; Kirkman looks up many old friends and makes new acquaintances, all of whom are largely sympathetic to gay rights. (Among the most eloquent of the latter group is writer Alan Garganus.) And his own ability to feel more comfortable about his sexual orientation helps, too; it's this personal dimension that often swerves the film away from rote Jesse bashing. Kirkman is perceptive about Helms' appeal to fundamentalists, admitting that the first time he voted, at age 18, he cast a ballot for Jesse "because he believed in God." The film ends on a chilling note; on Kirkman's first day of filming, he had shot interview footage of two young men at a rally in North Carolina, and one of them was Matthew Sheppard, who would make national news in the fall of 1998, when he was murdered outside of Laramie, WY, in a brutal hate crime.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/30/2007
  • UPC: 879086000033
  • Original Release: 1997
  • Source: Sovereign Dist
  • Time: 1:23:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Tim Kirkman
Jesse Helms Participant
Lee Smith Participant
Allan Gurganus Participant
Matthew Shepard Participant
Technical Credits
Tim Kirkman Director, Screenwriter
Norwood Cheek Cinematographer
John Crooke Score Composer
Caitlin Dixon Editor
Andrea Duckett Production Manager
Gill Holland Executive Producer
Joe Klotz Editor
Tony Losardo Sound/Sound Designer
Mary Beth Mann Producer
Ashley McKinney Cinematographer
Dave Sherwin Sound/Sound Designer
Ben Turney Sound/Sound Designer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Dear Jesse
1. Two Men [5:34]
2. Home [6:30]
3. Two Worlds [4:15]
4. Angels [3:34]
5. Whoremonger [3:57]
6. A Wedding [3:20]
7. Activism [4:32]
8. Family [4:18]
9. Ham & Yams [3:39]
10. Petition [1:40]
11. The Press [3:31]
12. Primary [2:52]
13. Prayer [4:00]
14. Familiarity [4:34]
15. Pod People [5:22]
16. Magicians [7:05]
17. Lost Sons [4:46]
18. The Attempt [4:30]
19. P.S. [2:16]
20. Credits [2:11]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Dear Jesse
   Play Movie
   Play With Audio Commentary
   Scene Chapters
   Bonus Scenes
      Play All
      Potty Mouth (Caution: Strong Language)
      Applejack's
      Three-Five Seven
      Tobacco
      The Funny Man
      Evening With Friends
   DVD Trailer
   About the Filmmaker
   About the Senator
   Senator Helms: In His Own Words
   Also Available
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