When Nicole Conn released her landmark film, Claire of the Moon in 1992, the landscape was practically void of other lesbian-themed movies. Nearly 20 years later, a sprinkling of movies with queer themes has made it to the main stream: Brokeback Mountain, Boys Don’t Cry, The Kids are Alright. But the field is still so small that most people can name those films off the top of their head.
With this summer’s restored re-release of Claire of the Moon, Nicole Conn takes a look back at the film, her career, and the future of women’s films.
“Claire of the Moon told the story of being a lesbian at a time when we still weren’t visible,” states Conn. “It was a different time. We were searching for each other. We used code, and attended ‘women’s weekends’ or slithered into covert bars in order to find others like us.”
Twenty years later, Conn is still making movies that tell the stories of women in our community.
“We have more visibility now, for sure. But our stories have a continuing to need to be told. We’re a diverse community with diverse experience,” adds Conn.
While she may best be known for her lesbian-themed Claire, and last year’s Elena Undone (which featured the longest on-screen kiss in history), Conn’s other works include the documentary little man– the story of her premature son who was born 100 days early and weighing only one pound (also currently being re-released).
“Women are many things. We’re wives and partners and mothers and lovers. We have rich experiences that deserve to be told with great care.” Speaking about why she chose to share her life through documentary, Conn adds, “My experience is one that many other parents have. Frightening and vulnerable and utterly humbling. When you can’t ‘make it better’ for your child, you feel completely helpless. I wanted to show this most human experience that we were undergoing. I also wanted to ask the question we ask at the end of life: because we have the technology to extend life, does it make it humane to do so? I’m pleased that it’s given hope and comfort to others.”
And, after 20 years, she’s not finished. Right now, Conn and her production company, Soul Kiss Films, are working to complete their newest project, A Perfect Ending. “This movie is going to blow you away,” promises Conn. “It’s a redemption story. A story of self-realization and of a mother’s love. It’s a movie that shows so many facets of being a woman and finding your place in the world. And the acting is superb.”
In the lead roles are Barbara Niven and Jessica Clark. “Jessica is absolutely stunning. She’s our British, Amazon goddess. And Barbara is able to act an entire scene using just her eyes. The subtlety she commands is amazing,” comments Conn.
“It’s been almost 10 years since little man, and almost 20 years since Claire. There are still so many stories to be told. I wonder which ones we will be telling in another 20 years.”
Claire of the Moon will be released by Peccadillo Pictures Ltd. in July 2011, along with a Nicole Conn Box Set that will include Claire of the Moon, Cynara, and Elena Undone.