Some movies build Sundance buzz; others deserve it. Bryan Poyser's "Lovers of Hate" falls into the latter category.
A dramatic competition title from Austin, the movie follows failed writer Rudy (Chris Doubek), a man constantly at odds with his brother, Paul (filmmaker Alex Karpovsky), a successful children's book author. Rudy follows his sibling to his Park City condo as a surprise, only to discover that his ex-wife is sleeping with Paul.
For the remainder of the running time, Rudy remains lurking in the shadows, secretly listening to the clandestine affair. The blend of solemnity and deadpan humor creates a uniquely appealing character drama. "I wanted to put personal experiences on screen that felt honest and valid," Poysner told TheWrap.
Although the movie has played well at the festival, it remains somewhat low-key, given the lack of star power, but Poyser seems happy to have his movie there at all. His feature-length directorial debut, "Dear Pillow," premiered at Slamdance in 2004, but he has attended Sundance seven times before.
"While I still think my first feature should've gotten into Sundance, we went to 30 different film festivals, and I got nominated for an Independent Spirit Award," he said. "We rode that pony as far as it would go."
With that perspective in mind, Poyser expressed satisfaction rather than the giddy high many Sundance filmmakers often experience.
"I would have believed my life was going to change a lot more if that had happened earlier in my career," he said. "But now, I have to go back to work on Monday and bust my ass to make another movie."
Poyser's day job at the Austin Film Society, assisting filmmakers seeking grants for their work, has helped him understand the biggest challenges of his profession. "Lots of hopes and dreams go into these grant applications and 90 percent aren't going to get anything," he said. "I always tell filmmakers to apply, but be ready to be part of that 90 percent. If you're going to be an artist, one of your main jobs is dealing with rejection."