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Amid a Crisis, Life — and Queer Films — Must Go On

Nicole Conn

COVID-19 is no joke. With Donald Trump’s bullying of Democratic governors, spewing incorrect facts, startingly wrong conclusions, and trying to place the blame for all the blood on his hands anywhere but where it belongs, I find myself angrier and angrier every day. Remember when he told the country it was nothing more than another Dem “hoax”?

It’s real. And when you have a child that is as medically fragile as my son, Nicholas, Trump’s inability to federalize a resolution to help out all of these beleaguered governors keeps me in a perpetual state of extreme PTSD in regard to Nicholas and his well-being.

Nicholas has severe chronic lung disease from all the ventilators he was put on as a micro-preemie. His lungs are extremely delicate, and we have been in the intensive care unit numerous times. This last time, 2019, he was so ill that the palliative care staff came to speak to me about advocating for a do not resuscitate order.

So when it became evident that COVID-19 attacks the lungs so aggressively, we cut down the seven-nurse, 24-hour rotation to only two nurses, who were not treating others, leaving only those two and myself to cover all 24-hour shifts.

My daughter, Gabrielle, is the only other person allowed in the house, and even then we keep her and Nicholas separate. It makes me feel like our family is fractured and that he and I are isolated from the entire universe.

However, I’m right in the middle of releasing my latest film, More Beautiful for Having Been Broken, and I’ve discovered the more positive aspects of COVID-19. Not only do I get to spend more quality time with Nicholas, but I also get to do the same with all the fans from around the world.

Being isolated is not new for me. As a writer-director, I spend oodles of time working alone anyway, usually in plaid pajama pants and some mismatched top. But with all this extra time sequestered from the world, I’m able to really have fun with folks I haven’t been in contact with for ages as well as new fans and pen pals from all over the world, not to mention conducting and joining live chats worldwide.

COVID-19 also gave me time for reflection and planning. I personally believe that humanity is in a reset today with this pandemic challenging all the ways we’re used to living. It’s also become clear that our community is rabid for content. With this in mind, I spoke with my inner circle and discussed building Nicole Conn Films Global in an effort to help supply all the content we need.

Nicole Conn Films Global is an international group dedicated to the funding and supporting of women’s narrative features. We are committed to producing quality and entertaining feature films, documentaries, and TV/web series made by, for, and about women and their complex lives. Our mission is to keep lesbian cinema alive and thriving, always building our library as well as inviting member artists to be involved with films as well as specialized event and funding screenings or exhibitions. 

Further, we are creating inventive partnerships with other women’s production companies and businesses. We want to become an IMDB for lesbians — a central spot for all the lesbian TV shows, films, and web series so that women in the entertainment industry can reach out to promote and pitch themselves to be involved in productions that speak to their hearts. (Any data/librarian-type folks out there who want to help? Write us at assistant@nicoleconn.com.)

And finally, releasing More Beautiful for Having Been Broken during this time actually seems to have been a good thing. As I have suggested to many, romance is a remedy! I believe films about love can be an antidote to pain and loneliness at this time.

Due to COVID-19, we have lost that precious red carpet screening in Los Angeles that is usually a time of great celebration for cast, crew, friends, and family. Vision Films, our incredible worldwide distribution company, came up with a brilliant substitute, an interactive livestream event and Q&A with myself, cast members Zoe Ventoura, Kayla Radomski, Cale Ferrin, Harley Jane Kozak, and Gabrielle Baba-Conn, and producer Lissa Forehan.

The event will take place May 8 at 10:45 a.m. Pacific (the website for the film has a list of all international times). Registration is required at least 15 minutes before it starts, and you must use Chrome as your browser. You can sign up here.

Nicole Conn is a writer and director, known for films like Claire of the Moon, A Perfect Ending, Elena Undone, and her latest, More Beautiful for Having Been Broken.

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