This week I talked with Christin Mell, film producer and CEO of tello Films, which focuses on stories for the lesbian community. Christin is proud to be one of the executive producers and the distributor of Nikki & Nora, the first unaired network pilot to be reimagined as a digital Web series. Premiering Dec. 22, Nikki & Nora follows New Orleans locals Nikki Beaumont (played by Liz Vassey) and Nora Delaney (played by Christina Cox), former NOPD cops turned private investigators. They navigate the channels of their personal life together alongside their dedication to uncovering the truth in a city that really likes to keep its secrets.
I talked to Christin about Nikki & Nora and her spin on LGBT civil rights. When asked about her personal commitment to LGBT issues, she stated:
Illinois just passed equal marriage, which was so exciting, and my wife [Deb Mell] and I have been very strong supporters. My wife is a politician here in Chicago. She was the first openly lesbian to be elected to the Illinois State Legislature, and she's now serving as an alderman. She's also the first open lesbian to be an alderman for the city of Chicago, and so on the House floor, my wife announced our engagement. At the time, civil union wasn't even an option in Illinois, but Iowa had equal marriage. So this was the first time someone who was a lesbian got up and announced a marriage for a gay couple. That really prompted a lot of discussion, and a lot of people started to talk about it. At least in Illinois, civil unions passed first. So the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times both had editorials in favor of gay marriage, and then Deb and I were featured on the cover of the Sun-Times after we did get married, because it was the first openly gay legislator to get married. We really had the opportunity to talk about the inequality that was happening. Here my wife can make laws and represent people in her home state of Illinois, but we had to go to Iowa in order to get married. It really sparked a dialogue for people here, and real recognition of how weird that was that there wasn't equality in our own state. We were so happy when civil unions passed, and as I mentioned, just recently gay marriage passed. The governor signed it into law, and it starts the end of June. So we've been very committed and very open about our relationship. My wife had breast cancer, and thank goodness we married and civil unions were recognized in Illinois, because if anything happened, I was there to legally make decisions, and "in sickness and in health" is a really serious concern, and everyone should have those rights and opportunities. So we've been very active in the fight for equal marriage.
Christin Mell has produced eight projects and just as many in various levels of pre-production. In January 2013 onemorelesbian.com and tellofilms.com merged as a digital media powerhouse that produces stories for the lesbian community.
For more information, visit onemorelesbian.com/tello.
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