HFF 2015 Interview: Fourth Man Out Director Andrew Nackman


On his 24th birthday, Adam, a small-town mechanic, decides it’s time to finally tell his friends and family that he’s gay. Will his straight-as-an-arrow best bros have his back? Fourth Man Out is a lighthearted and unexpectedly subversive comedy about coming out of the blue collar closet. Fourth Man Out is a 2015 Heartland Film Festival Award Winner, Narrative Feature.

We spoke with Director Andrew Nackman about his film:

HF: What is your film about, and how did the project come to be?

AN: The film is called Fourth Man Out. It’s a comedy about a car mechanic in a blue collar town who comes out the closet to his unsuspecting best friends and how they all adjust to the situation. Aaron, our screenwriter, wrote a draft of it a few years ago and one of our producers, Jed Mellick, shared it with me because he liked it a lot. I read and enjoyed it as well so we worked together for about another year to further develop the script. Then we reached out to Lauren Avinoam and Lauren Hogarth, two producers we knew who had just finished a previous film Ask Me Anything, and they optioned the project. Together, we all joined together in making it.

HF: What was your role in the production?

AN: I am the director of Fourth Man Out.

HF: Why did you submit to the Heartland Film Festival? Have you been to the Festival before?

AN: I have not been to Heartland Film Festival before but know it well because of its strong reputation. Aside from it just being a great festival, we’ve also been very interested in screening Fourth Man Out to a wide range of audiences. It’s a story about someone coming out of the closet but we made it feeling like it’s the kind of universal story that could appeal to any type of audience. So to play at Heartland in Indianapolis, where we haven’t screened before, is a great opportunity to see how the film will be received in another region of the country.

HF: This year’s tagline is “Movies That Stay with You” – what lasting effect will your film have on moviegoers?

AN: We made this as a movie with a strong social message about friendship and family but in a way that can connect with people from all different backgrounds, age groups, etc. So I hope we’re able to achieve this and that audiences will be able to relate this story to past or future experiences in their lives somehow.

HF: What is something that you know about filmmaking now, but you weren’t told when you started your career?

AN: When you start out, you see these great movies by Kubrick, Scorsese, etc and they say ‘A film by’ so and so in the credits at the beginning and you think how brilliant these directors must be, but in reality there are a lot of people who contribute heavily to make each film what it is. How important collaboration is to the success of the film is probably what I’ve learned most. From all of our actors to our producers Lauren, Lauren and Jed, to our DP Damian Horan, our editor Michael Shawver, our production designer, Maria Dirolf, our casting directors Karlee Fomalont and Erica Hart. I could go on for another whole paragraph or two literally with everyone who played huge roles in this film.

HF: What are some of your favorite movies? What’s your favorite worst movie (you know it’s bad, but still love it)?

AN: I don’t have an exact top 5 or anything but some movies I love are Hoop Dreams, Trainspotting, Annie Hall, The Squid and the Whale and Y Tu Mama Tambien. My favorite worst movie, simply because nobody agrees when I recommend it, is Clifford, the one where Martin Short plays a manipulative 12 year old who wants his uncle to take him to Dinosaur Land. Really I’d recommend any movie Martin Short is in.

HF: How many film festivals has your film been a part of? What do you like the most about the festival experience?

AN: Our film has played at about 10 to date and has another 20 or so coming up in the next couple months. My favorite part of film festivals is seeing how audiences react. Where they laugh during the screenings (easier to do with a comedy) and what kinds of things people say to us afterwards.

HF: Heartland Film Festival moviegoers love filmmaker Q&As. Let’s say a Festival attendee wants to earn some brownie points—what is a question that you’d love to answer, but haven’t yet been asked?

AN: Maybe what my personal favorite line or moment in the movie is?

See Fourth Man Out at the 2015 Heartland Film Festival

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