About the Project


In Guys Reading Poems, a resourceful boy creatively uses poetry to survive when his mother, a disturbed avant garde painter, locks him in a puppet box and builds an art installation around his imprisonment.

This inventive neo-noir mindbender film integrates visual poetry with traditional narrative filmmaking. Our feature was shot in black-and-white in large part on the new Red Epic monochrome camera and world premiered at the Palm Beach International Film Festival on April 10, 2016, followed by screenings at Dances With Films and a Centerpiece Selection screening at qFLIX Philadelphia. The film won the Audience Award for Best Feature (Drama) at the 25th annual Woods Hole Film Festival, the jury award for “Creativity in Drama” at the 36th annual Breckenridge Film Festival and “Best of Fest” at the South Texas Underground Film Festival.

Of the project’s inspiration, director Hunter Lee Hughes says, “My grandmother not only read a lot of poetry, she marked up the poems, underlined certain passages and wrote notes in the margin comparing cherished phrases to figures in her life. The poetry she left behind served as psychological puzzle pieces to fill in gaps in my knowledge of my grandmother as a woman. It was a powerful experience and eventually I decided to make a mindbender film that employs individual poems as psychological clues to the journey of a protagonist. My grandmother loved poetry. I’ve always loved mindbender films like Mulholland Drive and Eyes Wide Shut. So, I designed Guys Reading Poems as a unique and compelling marriage of those forms of creative expression. I’m so pumped that we’re premiering during National Poetry Month – it’s perfect for us.”

cover photo by Michael Marius Pessah

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