Nicole Conn Interview

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What got you started in film?

I’ve loved storytelling from the time I was nine.  I grew up my entire life dreaming to be a novelist.  But after I had written two novels, everyone told me when they read my writing they felt like they were seeing a movie.  Since I was a B&W film fanatic — obsessed with all the stars from the 1930’s & 40’s, I guess it was a natural progression of marrying the two passions.

 

What was it like when you saw the reaction to Claire of the Moon?

It depends on which reaction you’re speaking of!  “Claire of the Moon” was critically acclaimed by the straight mainstream press, but the lgbt communities in both SF & NY really hated the film.  But the community in LA, Seattle, all of Texas, also loved the film along with middle America.  As a newbie artist, I had no idea how much pressure had been put on COTM to be all things to all of the women in the lgbt community.  But it’s popularity far outweighed the backlash.  The film is old style cinema and so I’m always surprised to hear young women loving the film.  But it was definitely the film that opened the doors for lesbian themed cinema and because it was that pioneering film – with an out lesbian crew, and lesbian Trisha Todd.  It also was the first film ever to create ancillary — MOMENTS – The making of “COTM” was a best-selling 90 minute documentary that helped spawn the rest of what became a cottage industry; soundtrack, t-shirts, sweatshirts, jewelry, poster, one-sheets and one year even a Christmas ornament made of actual film strips from COTM attached to a little bell.  The novelization and the film have seen 10th year anniversary packages along with 20th year re-release, so it’s the gift that keeps on giving.  And while parts of the film make me cringe seeing the mistakes one always makes in their first endeavor, I’m very fond of the film for so many reasons, not least of which is what we used to refer as the “Claire Junkies.”

 

Where do you see lesbian culture within the movies going?

I think we are at the fork in the road.  Every TV show and every film has someone gay or lesbian in it, so we have finally gotten what we wanted – the exposure of our community to the mainstream.  But now that we are so omni-present, it is even more difficult to fund women’s films, because we are getting what we wanted with one very dramatic challenge and sacrifice — No one wants to fund women’s films because we’re everywhere, except for in theaters.  Since lesbians on the whole and the film going public in whole are least apt to go to a woman’s film in the theaters (save Festival theatrical screenings) the opportunity to make films with women’s driven themes is not financially viable.  The micro indie film community and the inability for distributors to see that our films are stories that are universal and for everyone has basically backed us into a corner in terms of film.  The fact is that Wolfe Video, the largest distributor for lgbt films cannot find broadcast opportunities for our films on TV.  They and Peccadillo are unbelievably GREAT Distributors.  They treat their filmmakers like family and they do their very best to get our films out there.  I believe in this climate they cannot make those sells BECAUSE we’ve become so visible.  “Oh there’s lesbians and gay characters everywhere, in all our programming.  We don’t need to show a whole movie about them!!”  We’ve been invited to the party, but we are still the shy awkward participants standing by the punch bowl, nervously chatting amongst ourselves.   We’ve been invited to the party, but we haven’t yet been asked to dance.

 

Who would you most like to make a film? (I’m assuming you’re asking what actress I would most like to make a film with?

I very much want to work with all my leads again, but especially Barbara Niven because I have several scripts that would fit her to a tea AND she’s not only so incredibly easy to work with, when she’s in, SHE’s IN!!

But in terms of casting for the mainstream epic triangular love story, “Descending Thirds” I would pretty much lose my mind to work with Barbara Streisand as an executive producer (she would be perfect as a driving force for this film.)  Years ago, when “Descending Thirds” almost got made with the following:  Cate Blanchett, Kate Winslet, and Ashley Judd, but the film went into turn around.  Today I think an Evan Rachel Woods, Naomi Watts, Theresa Palmer – and Big YES on Katee Sakhoff.  For the woman’s film I’m working on now, I’d really like to work with Gabrielle Christian again.  And then there are my two good luck charms, Mary Jane Wells and Steve Tyler.  I simply have to have both of them on my sets!

 

What was it like growing up dreaming of being a filmmaker?

As I said I always dreamt of being Dorothy Parker, a writer in the 20’s sitting the Algonquin.  But dreaming of being able make films, kind of knocked me off my feet in my late twenties.  From that point forward I have been so incredibly lucky to have made more films for our community than any other lesbian director.  I am the luckiest lesbian alive.  But I also dream of my stories finding a wider audience and with the success of “Elena Undone and “A Perfect Ending” I’m hoping to do just that.

 

The guys at Pecadillo Pictures have put together a great new box set of Nicole’s films

Perfect Endings

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