1. Heloise+Abelard
    Heloise+Abelard
    Based on a true love story of one of the most controversial and tragic romances in history.
Based on a true story, the love of Heloise and Abelard is one of the greatest and tragic love stories of all times, but few today know the tale. 
Set in lush, pastoral 12th century France... Construction of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris had only begun.
Almost 900 years ago, a young French girl named Heloise did the unthinkable – she fell in love with her tutor, Peter Abelard, who was 20 years her senior.  What followed was a forbidden love that spanned two decades amid the searing backdrop of political and religious turmoil.

The affair cost the lovers everything they had. Peter became one of history's most famous castrated lovers and Heloise's love for him was unfaltering.
  
Synopsis
       The Cathedral of Notre Dame has its groundbreaking ceremony in Paris. Wild beasts and robbers roam the countryside. The Church powers of France and Rome are at odds. And convents and abbeys are refuges for abandoned wives, the elderly, and the poor. It is 1142 A.D.
       Heloise, 18, the most brilliant woman in France, masters four languages, mathematics, the classics, and science. Her mind has surpassed the skills of the best tutors. She begs her uncle to have the popular Professor Peter Abelard, 38, tutor her since women could not attend universities. The uncle trusts Peter, who is devoted to his studies and students until Peter teaches Heloise about theology, philosophy, Aristotle and… love. And in so doing, he falls in love with her – a love that will transcend eternity.
       Heloise+Abelard is a legendary tragic love story that calls to mind Romeo and Juliet. Rather than battling each other’s families, Heloise and Peter fight against society and the church – and lose.

  • Great tragic love story. Professors on a fast-track career could have mistresses but not wives; however, Peter wants to marry Heloise. She prefers to be his whore rather than jeopardize his teaching career since professors were to devote their lives to learning and never to wed. Heloise agrees to a secret marriage for their unborn child. She lives in hiding at a convent and waits for Peter to steal away for weekend trysts.
  • Violence. The uncle mistakenly assumes Peter has dumped Heloise and does an unthinkable act against Peter that changes his relationship with Heloise forever. He castrates Peter.
  • Loss of her infant and commitment to a monastic life. Peter joins a monastery and orders Heloise to become a nun, which requires her to give up their infant. Her monastic life is a mere cover for her unfilled sexual cravings for Peter and her grief over her child she’ll never know. Heloise turns her energies into building a vast Order with large landholdings.
  • The ultimate test of love. During the next 20 years, the Vatican evicts Heloise and her sisters, burns Peter’s books, and banishes and excommunicates him. Despite this, Heloise hungers for his love. As their twilight years approach, Heloise must battle her fellow nuns, the Vatican, and even her own conscience to prove one last time her undying love for her tutor – an act that she knows will cause her soul to burn in hell for eternity.
  • Heloise’s legacy – her love letters. Their seven love letters, written over a 20-year time period, have survived the pillages of droughts, famines, and wars in France for 1,000 years.

Heloise:  “I would go into hell if you so bid me, dear Peter.”
  

Target Audiences

Game of Thrones has made such tales appealing to every generation...

Heloise+Abelard deals with intellectual, theological, and sexual oppression. Such oppression persists in different ways in today’s society. Heloise’s plight applies to modern-day women who believe they have few choices in life. In Heloise’s era, the choices were wedlock or a nunnery and she worked to give women more choices.

Heloise+Abelard will appeal to both North American – U.S. and Canadian – and European audiences. The American audience will enjoy the film as a period piece and a love story that most do not know. Even in France, many of the youth are unfamiliar with the greatest love affair of French history. The target audiences are:

  • Youth and female audiences’ attraction to romantic tragedies. This picture matches two significant audience types – youth and female – who are strongly attracted to such blockbusters as Titanic and Shakespeare in Love.
  • Gen Xers. Similar to Abbess Heloise, who is looking back on her youth and the choices she made, the Gen Xers who are approaching their 40s will relate to her sense of loss but renewed hope about what more she can do with her life.
  • Baby boomers. The film will also appeal to baby boomers because of their interests in period pieces, love stories, and drama. They have a strong following to for such period PBS and TV series John Adams, The Tudors., and Game of Thrones.
  • Foreign audiences. Foreign audiences account for 45% to 60% of the gross box office receipts of the top movies. The foreign audiences fall into similar categories as the American audiences although attendance can be higher in some territories, such as Eastern Europe.

A strong cast will generate significant interest among all of these audiences.  

Classic love story

Present-day audiences will be shocked about the violent act that caused Heloise and Abelard to live apart despite their love for each other.

Their love is referenced today in films – On Being John Malkovich, Sense and Sensibility, and The Lovely Bones – but few Americans or Europeans know the story and, thus, the motivation for these references.

Who We Are

This film has been a passion project for Elaine and Gayla. Their working relationship goes back to the 1990s. 

  1. Elaine Hastings Edell
    Elaine Hastings Edell
    Producer
  2. Gayla Kraetsch Hartsough
    Gayla Kraetsch Hartsough
    Writer/Producer
    Description
       Elaine of Edell Productions, LLC, has been an independent film producer since 1995. She recently produced “Final Recourse” and received an Executive Producer credit for “Dirty Little Trick”. In addition to working on the development of “Heloise+Abelard”, she is producing “Vinny the Elf”.
       She produced the feature film, “Dead Men Can’t Dance”, for LIVE Entertainment (Artisan), which was released theatrically in 1997. She also completely reedited, “The James Dean Story”, prior to its release and completed producing duties on a Revlon commercial, directed by famed photographer Raul Vega. Several feature projects are under option at various film companies at this time. She had a contractual in-house producing/production deal at Harvey Entertainment 1999 to 2000.
       While working with Ridley Scott at his Paramount-based Percy Main Productions, Ms. Hastings Edell assisted on the films “The Browning Version” (Paramount) and “Monkey Trouble” (New Line). As the corporate liaison for film production at MGM/Pathe’, she was responsible for the budgeting, funding, cost-reporting, and general production matters for such films as “Thelma and Louise”, “The Russia House”, “Quigley Down Under”, and “The Man in the Moon”.
       As controller at the producer/distributor company of Simcom International, she was responsible for all financial activities, including designing and implementing an integrated computer system for the multi-media distribution and marketing areas. Additionally, she was Assistant Controller of New World Pictures.
She obtained her CPA while specializing in entertainment at Peat, Marwick, Mitchell and Co. (KPMG), where her clients included Twentieth Century Fox, The Pebble Beach Company, ABC-TV, Hanna Barbera, Sunn Classics Productions, and Quinn Martin Productions.
       She has two projects in development now: Vinny the Elf and a TV series.
       She has analyzed scripts for the AFI Alumni Association, coordinated Women’s Image Network functions, and is a continuing member of Women in Film (WIF).
Inspiration for Gayla in Writing This Script...

After writing and producing her short film, HELOISE, Gayla had conducted such extensive research on the lives of Heloise and Peter Abelard, that she decided to write a feature script.

At first, she thought the remarkable story was the initial love story of youth, similar to Romeo and Juliet. Similar to Romeo and Juliet, Heloise+Abelard's youthful love story ends in tragedy, but does not end... their loves matures and spans another 20 years, despite the cruelty of the Church and Heloise's uncle. With this realization, the script juxtapositions the youthful love story with Heloise's final test upon Abelard's death - a test of her devotion and undying love for him.

The script Heloise+Abelard has received recognition from:
  • CAA gave the script a “Recommend” in its coverage.
  • A production company located at Paramount gave the script a “Recommend” in its coverage.
  • The script has also won screenwriting festival and competition awards.
  • Nichol Fellowships in Screenwriting ranked the script among the top 10% of all entries.

For more info on Gayla's short, "Heloise," go to that tab on this website.

For more info on Gayla, go to "About Gayla" on this website.
Production/Shooting Localities
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       Given the mood of the film, the convent scenes should emulate the austerity and lighting one might find in a Vermeer painting.
       Although Heloise+Abelard is set in 12th century France, it has the advantage that the ornate castles and cathedrals were just dreams of men. Therefore, the buildings are basically stone and wooden structures. Many of the scenes are set in fields and with simple back drops, which will keep production costs down.
       Although the most authentic setting may be France, the film does not need to be shot there. Other European settings – such as The Czech Republic, Hungary, United Kingdom, Poland, or Germany – could be easily adapted as well as sites in North America – such as Quebec or Toronto in Canada or New Orleans, New England, or elsewhere in the United States.
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Contact Us
Let us know if you're interested in learning more about Heloise+Abelard.
  
  
Gayla Kraetsch Hartsough is the sole writer of the script. Heloise+Abelard is both registered with the Writers Guild (WGA 1391021) and the U.S. Copyright Office. The financial information is available upon request, but will be refined based on the talent recruited for the project. 
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