Anna: Nicole, you have done an enormous amount for
raising the profile for lesbian and bisexual women and I want to
thank you for all you have achieved.
Nicole: Thank you so much… When I did my first
lesbian film Claire of the Moon in 1992 the world was so different.
There were no other lesbian films out there. I am now so glad that
cinema has flourished enough that there are movies which speak to
everybody. I feel like it has finally come to the point where we
have lesbian cinema.
Your latest film, Elena Undone, was released in February
in the UK. Can you give us an outline of the film?
Elena Undone is a love story, which is semi-autobiographical. It's
based on the storyline of my partner, Marina Rice Bader, and
myself. When we met, Marina was 50 and literally had never
considered women at all. She had never kissed a friend in college
or had any thought in her mind that she would ever be attracted to
a woman. She was married and had four children. Shortly after we
started working together on a project, we just fell madly in
What messages did you want Elena Undone to carry to its
The film asks can we just get beyond all the labels of "lesbian",
"bisexual" and "straight." Marina does not consider herself a
lesbian but she's madly in love with a woman. Marina is not
attracted to other women and I think that you don't have to say
you're a lesbian but if you are a lesbian it should be ok that you
say you are a lesbian. It is asking the audience to really
investigate that idea.
Also, the film pokes and provokes the audience to ask themselves
the question, "Do you believe in the concept of soul mates, and if
you do, are you with yours or are you just settling?" For example,
are you a straight woman in a marriage who is falling in love with
other women, and if so what are you going to do about
My work often involves helping women who are coming out of
relationships with men and who are forming relationships with
women. It's so great that your film highlights this
Yes I am getting feedback from lots of women all over the world to
say that they relate to the film. That they are with a husband who
doesn't know that they like women or that he thinks they are just
in a phase. Most of those women live double lives, with
relationships outside their marriage, and they feel terrified.
That's why I was so excited to see your Pink Matters site, which
helps these women.
Who is the film targeted at?
It is targeted at people who like good story-telling and a good
love-story. I have a singular goal to make romance not be a dirty
The film also includes the longest screen kiss. Can you
tell us about this?
When I originally worked on that sequence I had no intention of
breaking any record. I was just writing the script and remembered
the first time I kissed Marina. I wanted to capture the delicious,
out of this world moment and being captivated by this new energy
that seemed to last forever. I wanted to capture that
cinematically. The previous record was three minutes and six
seconds. The kiss in Elena Undone really has become a crowd-pleaser
and I'm really pleased that the longest kiss in cinema history is
held by two women.
What feedback have you had on the film?
It became number one gay and lesbian title on amazon.com. We have
had tons of five-star reviews from the people's reviews on Amazon,
and they really feel the truth in the film. I have had so
many emails saying, "It's the best lesbian film ever", which of
course is extremely gratifying. So, yes, I am beyond thrilled with
In terms of your relationship, were there any specific
challenges you had to face as a mum with another
Well, we have six children between us. My children were already
used to having two mums but Marina's children had grown up with
their dad. Each of her children had to cope with the fact that
their mother, who was straight and conservative, was suddenly with
another woman and yet didn't call herself a lesbian. These are
difficult and confusing things for children to deal with and that
is when help is needed. Our kids can see that we love each other so
much and that really helps and I also love Marina's children. It's
all worked out for us but it's not come without its hurdles that's
for sure. That's why when I was aware of you and Pink Matters I was
thrilled by what you are doing and the fact that you help women in
the circumstances which my character Elena is in and provide
What has driven you in achieving your goals in your film
I am blessed that I always knew what my passion was. I started
writing when I was in third grade and have always been a
storyteller. I have to say that I am completely obsessed with and
addicted to filmmaking. I knew what I wanted to do and I haven't
let much get in my way. I have had to be persistent and had to suit
up and do the work!
What tips can you give to other women who want to achieve
I've been asked many times by people, "I want to be a writer, what
do I do?" and there's something that's so simple that people don't
think of… just do something every day. It can be a
sentence, a paragraph or a page a day and at the end of the year
you have 365 sentences or 365 pages. People who want to write think
they have to do the whole thing in one fell swoop but they don't…
People need to take it one day at a time and try to participate in
their passion on some small level every day and they will soon be
surprised what they actually achieve.
What is your proudest piece of work?
Without doubt it's Little Man, the film that I made about my
premature son Nicholas. It's the most honest filmmaking I've ever
done. I have got more fan mail for Little Man than anything else. I
hear from straight couples who then become much more open to
looking at my lesbian work. They see I am a just a mum who loves my
kids and they start to realise that just because I am a lesbian I
am not any different to them.
What do you want to leave behind as a
I'd really like to be remembered for telling stories that really
get to the heart of emotion… I want to provoke and evoke.
"She's a filmmaker who made me feel a lot..." That's what I'd like
people to remember.