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Tim Bartell, writer/director: DIRTY BEAUTIFUL

February 18, 2015
TIM BARTELL, writer/director of Dirty Beautiful. Photo by Mark Savage.

TIM BARTELL, writer/director of Dirty Beautiful. Photo by Mark Savage.

1Q: Tell us a little about the origins of DIRTY BEAUTIFUL, from concept to financing.

Let me start out by saying: Dirty Beautiful is not only a film I didn’t want to make, it’s an idea I ran from.

Flashback: a young was woman hitchhiking, so I gave her a ride. As we talked I found out she was homeless. Not destitute… more like a drifter. I offered to take her to a shelter but she wasn’t into that. Soon she asked if I had a girlfriend? No? She started to hint she would make a good girlfriend. It freaked me out. I gave her a few bucks and dropped her off where she wanted. Over time, I thought about her. And I’d think, there’s probably a story there. But the only way I could do it would be if the young man (me) brought this woman into his home and life. That idea made me cringe. Yet wasn’t there a little part of me then tempted by the idea of this instant girlfriend? Maybe some masculine combination of “saving her” mixed with exactly how lonely and sad I was back then.

The more I let the idea in, the more came out in me: memories of my desperate 20’s… of that youthful fear that I would always be alone. Suddenly, I couldn’t stop the ideas from coming. And the story I ran from became the one I was dying to tell. It’s not a totally true story… but there’s a lot of truth in it.

Then of course the trick was to raise the money to make it. I raised as much money as I could on my own, mainly from family and friends. Then I ran Kickstarter and IndieGoGo campaigns. That got us through shooting. Then more had to be raised for same later reshoots and post-production. I really gained respect for the people on NPR. Endless fundraising… AHHHH!

2Q: Cinequest Film Festival is hosting the World Premiere of DIRTY BEAUTIFUL. Explain to us how it feels to bring this film before audiences for the first time, and what do you think their reaction will be to your film?

I’m so looking forward to screening at Cinequest! The festival has such a great reputation for programming interesting, unconventional films. Dirty Beautiful is going to fit in well and I think audiences there will really get into it. I’m excited for the Q&A’s after, just to hear people’s reactions to the film.

3Q: What was your best and/or worst experience while making DIRTY BEAUTIFUL?

The best experience was definitely working with my cast. Particularly our leads, Ricky Mabe and Jordan Monaghan. The film rides on their performances and they never let it down. And they were both such a pleasure to work with. The worst experience for me was having to get up early every day. My personal opinion is the best part about morning is when it’s over. I’m going to set my next film entirely at night so next time I can get up at 3 PM.

4Q: Festival audiences often have to make hard decisions about what to see, and the catalog descriptions sometimes run together. In your own words, why should people see your film?

Dirty Beautiful is a film people are not going to forget. It has an almost dangerous combination of comedy and drama. Dirty Beautiful is a dysfunctional love story. And though there are scenes of truly effecting romance, it’s about as far away from a predictable rom-com as you can get. Beautifully acted, well shot and a terrific music score mixing originally composed music with some excellent songs. And the ending… will, let’s say there will be room for debate after.

5Q: Time to pre-plan: You just won the Oscar for DIRTY BEAUTIFUL. Give us your acceptance speech.

I want to thank the Academy for this great honor. Though I have to ask… what took you so long? 🙂

See DIRTY BEAUTIFUL at Cinequest!
View the Trailer!
Follow DIRTY BEAUTIFUL on Facebook!
Follow DIRTY BEAUTIFUL on Twitter!


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