Writer and director Tim Kirkman was born on November 2, 1966 in Monroe, North Carolina, the third child of a public school educator and a music teacher, and spent his childhood in nearby Wingate, North Carolina.
He received a bachelors degree in graphic design from North Carolina State University and a master's degree in media studies from The New School in New York City.
His feature film debut, Dear Jesse, was released theatrically by Cowboy Pictures in 1998. A documentary film about the political and personal parallels between the gay filmmaker and the notoriously anti-gay U.S. Senator Jesse Helms, Dear Jesse, made its cable television debut on HBO/Cinemax's "Reel Life" series and was nominated for an Emmy Award in the News/Documentary Writing category in 2000. The TV broadcast version of the film featured an interview with Matthew Shepard, a college student whose murder called attention to gay-bashing and hate crimes.
His second film, the performance documentary The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me, David Drake's solo off-Broadway hit play about writer Larry Kramer, was released by FilmNext in 2000.
Kirkman's narrative feature debut, Loggerheads, which he wrote and directed, premiered at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival where it was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize for Best Dramatic Feature and won prizes at several film festivals across the United States, including the Grand Jury Prize at Outfest. The film, which stars Tess Harper, Bonnie Hunt, Michael Kelly, Michael Learned, Kip Pardue, Chris Sarandon and Robin Weigert, was released by Strand Releasing in October 2005.