Filmmaker 5 with Omri Laron: More Than Friends

The LGBTQ+ community is represented at the 19th Annual Oscar-Qualifying HollyShorts Film Festival with an exciting line-up of short films. From Omri Laron short film More Than Friends takes an unexpected turn when a quirky lesbian mom discovers a love letter written by her 11-year-old son to another boy. She decides to take matters into her own hands, further straining the relationship she has with her son. Classic Couple Academy asked Omri Laron about More Than Friends, airing at HollyShorts on Friday, August 11, 2023.

Filmmaker 5.1:  More Than Friends portrays a parent’s discovery that her son has feelings of love for another boy. How did you arrive at the story?

Filmmaker Omri Laron

I came out at a late age, so only in recent years I have started dealing with the child I was and the feelings I hid from my parents. There is a well-known saying in the context of coming out: “A mother always knows” and I was interested in whether my mother did think of me as a child that I might be gay. She of course completely denied it, but since I have no way of knowing the real answer, I decided to write a script that deals with what could have happened.

Filmmaker 5.2:  How did you work with your cast to bring out the mother-son relationship you envisioned in More Than Friends?

I invited the two of them for some quality time at my house and let them play and dance together. But I knew that I didn’t want them to feel too comfortable with each other because their relationship in the film doesn’t start from a close place. After all, the film tells a story of a mother who is unable to communicate with her child as she would like.

Filmmaker 5.3:  You have taught screenwriting and the history of cinema. How does your work as a teacher inform your work as a screenwriter, as a director?

I feel like my two passions go together really well. When I’m in the classroom, I treat the material like a story – thinking about the hero, what they want, and the main conflict. I think it’s important for students to emotionally connect with what they’re learning and a story is the best to way to get identification. From the other direction, the teaching helps me to become a screenwriter and a director who also focuses on the process and not just the result.

Filmmaker 5.4:  What does it mean to you to see More Than Friends showcased as part of the LGBTQ+ short line-up at HollyShorts?

It’s such a huge honor. The thought that the film managed to capture the attention of someone on the other side of the world is so amazing. I wish I could physically come to the festival, but I have a strong feeling that the film is in good hands.

Filmmaker 5.5:  What would you like audiences to take away from viewing More Than Friends?

The thing that would make me most happy is if the story succeeds in moving or laughing, if the characters enter the heart and if something from the film remains with the viewers even after they leave the theater.

The thing that would make me the happiest is if the story succeeds in moving or making people laugh, if the characters will enter the heart of the audience, and if something from the film stays with the viewers even after they leave the theater.

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