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Mambo#5: Lauren Avinoam, Film Producer

Mercury Mambo was excited to attend the 28th Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival last week (September 10- 13, 2015). Every year we look forward to the creativity, storytelling and talent that this premium festival has to offer.

With that in mind, we had the opportunity to meet the amazing film producer, Lauren Avinoam, who’s funny yet touching film “Fourth Man Out” opened for the festival.

We were taken by how this film demonstrates the complexities of “coming out” and how a friendship can be challenged by the unexpected news. Inspired by the humor and emotional sensibilities from the film, we jumped at the chance to interview Lauren and get her perspective on film.

1. How has producing films changed your life?

That’s an interesting question. I think in a very satisfying way, producing has been the culmination of so many aspects from the filmmaking process that I had previously worked in. The combination of involvement from developing a project to casting, to festival release, production, it is nice to see a project go from infancy to maturity, if that makes sense. And getting to work with many people who I respect and care about just adds fun to the process as well.

2. Can you tell us about the process of choosing the cast for “Fourth Man Out” and what where some challenges that came with it?

We had a great deal of support from Andrew Nackman’s agency, WME. They had a big hand in the route we went with some selections. As well as our incredible casting directors, Karlee Fomalont & Erica Hart. They were very open, as we were to have diversity within the cast and be open to many different types of actors. The challenges were mostly around our timeline. We shot the film in 17 days, very quick, some days we shot 7.5 pages. The actors needed to be able to handle that level and style, meaning there weren’t too many chances to re-shoot. Thankfully we had so many professionals who’ve been working in film and TV for a while like Parker Young (Enlisted, Arrow), Kate Flannery (The Office), Chord Overstreet (Glee) and of course Jon Gabrus (MTV Guy Code) with great comedic backgrounds. Evan Todd was fabulous as the lead Adam, and it’s shocking but it’s his first leading role in a feature film, in fact, his first film altogether. But with his great theatrical training he really brought it. We got very lucky to not just have a stellar cast but people we loved working with and would love to work with again.

3. Was there one thing you wanted to change or felt you could redo at the last minute for the film?

I don’t believe so, not that I know of right now. Aside from final song selections for the scenes, I don’t believe so. This film truly makes me laugh every time I see it and I am really happy with the product. No do overs! hahaha

4. We’ve noticed that you’ve already collaborated with great directors and actors and wanted to know, what’s next for you? Any projects you foresee you want to tackle?

Yeah we had the privilege, Lauren Hogarth (my producing partner) and I, to work with Allison Burnett on our last film, and first feature ‘ASK ME ANYTHING’ (Britt Robertson, Justin Long, Martin Sheen) and that was an incredible experience working with a project that had been a novel and then became a film by the same author. We are looking at a few projects, in a similar vein, which are sprouted from novels that we believe emphasize the types of projects we’d like to produce. So stay tuned, no announcements quite yet on the feature side. We will be producing a fabulous short this fall from Emmy Winner Jeffrey DeChausse that deals with the topics of Veterans in the U.S returning from abroad. Excited about that one.

5. Any advice to others who are “coming out” and are facing the same challenges as Adam?

Such a huge question. I believe trust is a very important facet of any relationship, and especially friendships. Trust that those who you care deeply for will see any issue through is important. But for however hokey it sounds, I think the tide is high and people are really opening up to understand that love is love and who you love should not affect society’s idea of who you are and what makes you, you. Hope that makes sense.’

Snippet on the film: “Fourth Man Out” centers on this car mechanic closeted guy, Adam, who decides to come out to his unsuspecting group of friends on his 24th Birthday.

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Written by: Daniela Lopez