Early Praise for Guys Reading Poems

“[Hunter Lee] Hughes’ film has a universal appeal. By channeling the pain of damaged youth into a unique filmic meditation, he has created a touchstone for anyone who struggles to reconcile these psychic scars within their own life. It’s an interior landscape that can be recognized by almost anyone, of course; and by treating it with candor, acknowledging its dark beauty, and honoring its inseparability from identity, Hughes has given us a movie which illuminates the path to transcendence. Guys Reading Poems is unequivocally an art film, and as such unlikely to achieve widespread success at the box office; but for those of us who appreciate the bravery required not only to confront these difficult issues, but to explore them in such a public and honest manner, it is a much-appreciated effort and worthy of being sought out. It deserves to be called essential viewing.”

John Paul King

Film Critic, L.A. Blade

“There is never a moment in the film that looks less than gorgeous, thanks to the black-and-white cinematography.”

Jeremy Ross

Film Critic, Living Out Loud L.A.

“A visual poetic experience and jaw-dropping black-and-white thriller that will leave you questioning your existence.”

Ernest Owens

Film Critic, Philadelphia Magazine

“Life is a puzzle that’s not meant to be solved, just experienced. The same is true of Hunter Lee Hughes’ ingenious feature film, Guys Reading Poems – a majestic, all-embracing account of how a vulnerable young boy learns to glibly mold his childhood suffering into art, tenderness and creative literature. Astutely constructing the motion picture as a poetry-imbued testimony for the transformative power of imagination in relieving pain, the director manages to craft a gripping mindbender that compels the viewer to gasp both in terror and awe of the complex intricacies and repercussions of heartrending art.”

Alexander Ryll

Film Critic, Gay Essential

“As a poet and the creator of the Def Poetry series I was really interested in a movie with poetry as its central theme. I had high hopes but worried so much could go wrong, mostly it could reinforce the false notion that poetry is boring. Well, with this film that couldn’t be further from the truth. The characters are interesting and well defined and the storyline is gripping and magical. The crisp cinematography pulled me into every nuance of the story, but the poetry itself is the best of all its commanding qualities. The poems themselves are thoughtful and complex. Words that I wanted to continually contemplate. They carry the production and never let go. In a succinct sentence, I can wrap this up by saying it is way dope and I wanna see it again.”

Danny Simmons

Co-Creator, Russell Simmons' Def Poetry Jam

“The film itself is a masterpiece, filmed in black-and-white and framed by poetry.”

Dr. Shelley Plumb

Founder, Plumb Talk Women

“As a testament to why film festivals are so amazing, I was completely enthralled by the neo-noir poetry drama, Guys Reading Poems, where filmmaker Hunter Lee Hughes tells the story of a dysfunctional family through the use of poetry. Shot beautifully in black and white, this movie resembled a modern-day silent film, at times using only music and action to create the scene. This was the unexpected surprise of the festival for me!”

Nikki DeMC

Film Critic, Lavender Inspiration & Beach Magazine

Awards for Guys Reading Poems

Best of Fest at South Texas Underground Film Festival

Creativity in Drama at Breckenridge Film Festival

Audience Award for Best Feature (Drama) at Woods Hole Film Festival

Best LGBT Project at the Action on Film Festival


Guys Reading Poems world premiered at the 21st annual Palm Beach International Film Festival in April, 2016 during National Poetry Month, followed by a West Coast premiere at the 19th annual Dances With Films at the iconic TCL Chinese Theatres in Hollywood. The film then received a prestigious Centerpiece Selection slot at qFLIX Philadelphia and won the Audience Award for Best Feature (Drama) at the 25th annual Woods Hole Film Festival and went on to screen at a total of ten international film festivals.

Our film enjoyed a week-long theatrical engagement at Arena Cinelounge and will premiere across platforms on February 20, 2018 through our distributor Gravitas Ventures.

Check out our blog to see our film’s journey on the festival circuit!

Follow us for news on our release!

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