Experiencing Interruptions?

Guys Reading Poems

Combining poetry, traditional film narrative and a neo-noir aesthetic, GUYS READING POEMS follows a creative boy who uses poetry to survive after his mother, a disturbed avant garde painter, locks him in a puppet box and creates an art installation around his imprisonment.

  • Hunter Lee Hughes
  • Hunter Lee Hughes
  • Debbie Vandermeulen
  • Hunter Lee Hughes
  • Jason Fracaro
  • Patricia Velasquez
    Key Cast
    The Mummy, The Mummy Returns
  • Alexander Dreymon
    Key Cast
    The Last Kingdom, American Horror Story: Coven
  • Lydia Hearst
    Key Cast
    #Horror, South of Hell
  • Luke Judy
    Key Cast
  • Christos Vasilopoulos
    Key Cast
  • Rex Lee
    Key Cast
    Entourage, Young & Hungry
  • Blake Sheldon
    Key Cast
    The Age of Reason, Gone Girl
  • Jerod Meagher
    Key Cast
    Banshee, Recovery Road
  • Hunter Lee Hughes
    Key Cast
    Winner Takes All, Narcissist
  • Justin Schwan
    Key Cast
  • Michael Marius Pessah
    Joshua Tree 1951: A Portrait of James Dean
  • Patrick Kennelly
    Excess Flesh
  • Joachim Horsley
    Jessabelle, Lemon Tree Passage
  • Nathaly Lopez
    Production Design
  • Shpetim Zero
    Costume Designer
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Drama, Mystery, Experimental
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 39 minutes 51 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 6, 2016
  • Production Budget:
    160,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Red Epic Monochrome
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
    Black & White
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Palm Beach International Film Festival
    Palm Beach, Florida
    April 9, 2016
    World Premiere
  • Dances with Films
    Los Angeles, CA
    United States
    June 11, 2016
    West Coast Premiere
  • QFlix Philadelphia
    Philadelphia, PA
    United States
    July 7, 2016
    Mid-Atlantic premiere
    Centerpiece Selection
  • Woods Hole Film Festival
    Woods Hole
    United States
    August 4, 2016
    New England premiere
    Audience Award - Best Feature (Drama)
  • Breckenridge Film Festival
    United States
    September 17, 2016
    Rocky Mountain premiere
    Jury Prize - Creativity in Drama
  • South Texas Underground Film Festival
    Corpus Christi, Texas
    United States
    November 12, 2016
    Texas premiere
    "Best in Fest"
Director Biography - Hunter Lee Hughes

Hunter Lee Hughes (writer-director-producer) created GUYS READING POEMS after immersing himself in poetry books left to him by his late grandmother Kathleen. He committed to write and direct the film with the hope of effectively combining visual poetry with narrative storytelling in a feature film through the mindbender genre he considers his favorite.

Hunter’s previous directing effort was the comedy narrative webseries 'Dumbass Filmmakers!,' launched in 2012, which won four awards at L.A.WebFest, including “Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series.” Hunter also wrote and produced 'Winner Takes All,' which screened at ten international film festivals before being acquired for distribution as part of the 'Black Briefs' collection of dark short films. He is currently developing his second feature film, INSIDE-OUT, OUTSIDE-IN.

Hunter’s two plays, 'Fate of the Monarchs' and 'The Sermons of John Bradley,' were mounted in Los Angeles, with 'Fate of the Monarchs' being chosen as “Critic’s Pick” by 'BackStage West' and 'The Sermons of John Bradley' winning “Best Leading Actor in A Drama – Male” by StageSceneLA.com for the 2008-2009 Season.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

The idea of making a poetry film occurred to me after discovering my late grandmother's poetry collection. Not only did the poems themselves interest me, but equally important, my grandmother made notes in the margins about her life and how the people she knew and events she experienced connected to the lyrical metaphors of Edna St. Vincent Millay or the insight of Emily Dickinson. She circled or starred some poem titles...or stanzas within them. Sometimes a line was underlined with a corresponding note, "Reminds me of Jenny."

My grandmother grew up in a time and culture when emotional expression was not so commonplace. Reading poetry was a way for her to understand her own emotions. So each poem I discovered in her collection provided clues to a deeper understanding of my grandmother as a woman. That was the spark that made me decide to use poetry as cinematic "clues" to understand the psyche of our lead character in GUYS READING POEMS. It's worth noting that the film functions as one giant puzzle. Watch one piece and it may not make a lot of sense. But in the tradition of great mindbender films, when you have all the pieces, they come together in a satisfying and, hopefully, moving conclusion.

I feel compelled to pay tribute to three special artists who collaborated on the project. Cinematographer Michael Marius Pessah masterfully pulls off the neo-noir look of the film, while editor Patrick Kennelly discovered the rhythm not only of the poems, but of a fragmented human mind fumbling towards wholeness. And Joachim Horsley's score mournfully underscores a childish imagination forced into survival mode.

Thank you for your consideration.