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Art Imitates Love in ‘Elena Undone’

05 Feb Posted by in • Nicole Conn | 8 comments
Art Imitates Love in ‘Elena Undone’

An Homage to my Soul Mate – And how it Created The Longest Kiss in Cinema History!

Making film is like falling in love.  The first burst of excitement and enthusiasm, the sweeping epic bubble you live in while you plan your lives (script), all that great sex in the beginning is like the shoot (how much more of a high can you have?) and then the slow and endlessly enduring aftermath, when the luster is fading and you’re faced with the reality of what you have before you, frame by frame, flaw by imperfect flaw.

But when love is true…it works.  Just like when that illusive magic of elements comes together – the alchemy of actors’ chemistry, the mystical lens capturing the brilliant glow, the violins swell – well, they really do! – when it’s the real thing – it works.

“Elena Undone” truly came into being as the result of my falling in love after a fair four decades on the planet – really, truly, madly in love with my partner, Marina Rice Bader, (also Executive Producer) after she asked the simple question:  “Why aren’t there more lesbian films out there?”

“Elena Undone” started as the journey of telling our story; two people who meet at critically broken times of their lives, but in meeting, realize they have found their true soul mate.  Corny, I know, but it’s true.

The script was finished in two months.  We were supposed to start shooting in late January, but our stars, Necar Zadegan (“24”) and Traci Dinwiddie (“Supernatural”), both had huge scheduling conflicts so we had to drop 3 weeks of prep and start on Jan 1.

As in love, the unpredictable winds will blow.  Jane Clark, our fabulous producer, set up a dizzying 12-day shoot, rotating key dept heads and cast to meet all the SAG Ultra Low Budget requirements and taking absolute advantage of our 2 Red cameras.  Thankfully we also had our brilliant DP, Tal Lazar, whose sheer genius is the reason this film looks like it was made for millions and whose speed maintained most of the original shooting schedule (we only had to drop 10 scenes).

The one element of falling in love I truly wanted to capture in this film was that dizzying first kiss — that kiss that feels like you have lived inside it forever.  I jumped up, grabbed my laptop and started researching kisses and erotica in cinema.  A gaggle of googling later, I discovered that the record for the longest kiss in cinema history – that was organic to a film – was held by an old black and white comedy starring of all people Jane Wyman and Regis Toomey in a film called “You’re in the Army Now” – which lasted 3 minutes and 6 seconds.

Our “can-do” DP, Tal Lazar, created a 360 lightning design.  We only had half a day to shoot the kiss, and only 3 takes.  Necar and Tracy knew they had to hold the kiss for a specific amount of time.  They were thoroughly game to give it their best attempt – knowing we were trying to create film history — although I assured everyone, if the kiss didn’t feel right – or real – to the moment – we would cut it.  The two jumped in with gusto – approaching the scene as they did every scene – with absolute professionalism and an intractable commitment to truth.

That truth is now seen in “Elena Undone” which now claims and holds the record for the longest kiss in cinema history – and made by two women no less – for a solid 3 minutes and 24 seconds.   The kiss was then scored by the brilliant Jennifer Corday.  The kiss between Elena (Necar Zadegan) and Peyton (Tracy Dinwiddie)  is equally sweeping, emotional, romantic and erotic.  It is what every first true love kiss should be – endlessly breath-taking.

Elena Undone” may not have a 96 piece orchestra, or a green screen, or a location manager, or some days a generator, but just as you sacrifice for true love, so we sacrificed over and over to finish “Elena Undone.”  For all the things we didn’t have, what “Elena Undone” does have in spades is heart, soul and passion.  It’s like the character Tyler (beautifully portrayed by Sam Harris) states;  “Some of you may be thinking this kind of epic love can’t happen to me!  But when true love enters your life… Epic Happens!”

Nicole Conn is a Writer/Director/Mother who resides with her life partner, Marina and their family of six (wonderful if precocious) children in Los Angeles.  Her penchant for adult and dramatic story telling is evident in latest feature film, Elena Undone touted as “sexy and smart and smoldering.”  This classic romance with a twist, also hosts the Longest Kiss in Cinema History, a claim veteran lesbian writer Nicole Conn’s (Claire of the Moon, little man) is thrilled to be held by two women.  She is currently in post-production on “A Perfect Ending,” her next feature which she wrote and will direct this film, based on a story idea from her life and film partner, Marina Rice Bader. Bader and Conn are partners of Soul Kiss Films (Empowering Women One Film at a Time).  Check out the Elena Undone site and Buy it now at Wolfe Video.

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  • epochalipsnow says:

    Nicole, I love your story about Elena Undone, I can’t wait to see it! Thanks for sharing with us about how the Longest Kiss came to be. You Rock!

  • Ulla Ho says:

    When I saw the film, which I loved every second of, I didn’t know it was based on your real life, Nicole. Reading this makes it all the more precious!
    Can’t wait to see it again . . . in July!

  • fergus82 says:

    Nicole, The entire movie is breathtaking. I’ve watched it over ten times now. Every time I watch it, I see something I missed before. Thank you and Marina for making it! Cannot wait for the newest one.

  • Nicole Conn says:

    Thanks so much to everyone for your kind comments and thoughts. We are so happy to share our story with you.

  • rachel says:

    já vi inúmeras vezes; é doce, forte, intenso. há falhas de edição e a cena final é aquém do filme, mas a história delas impressiona e marca pelo amor entre elas. a atuãção de traci é levemente superior a de necar, mas ambas se entrelaçam harmonicamente. a música do beijo é perfeita. agora quero ler o livro para ver o que foi tirado. congratulações! belo filme!

  • shivette says:

    ELena Undone has to be one of the most authentic and realistic lesbian movies EVER. Traci and Necar give Beth and Tina aka Jennifer and Lauren of L word fame a run for their money when it comes to on screen chemistry
    respect sista’s xx

  • Adriana says:

    I first watched “Elena Undone” about a month ago. WOW!!! I was so in tuned with everything that went on… not with a straight woman, but with my first partner.It was great to see, that I can actually watch a lesbian movie, without being grossed out(chessy flix’s).
    I hope that in the future, there will be more lesbian movies, that are as real as “Elena Undone”. Believe me, the lesbian community needs them!!!
    KUDDOS, to all involved 🙂

  • Lisa says:

    Thought the synergy between the two women was magical. I liked that it was also classy. I felt their love was as real as any I have seen.