Bryan Poyser Leaving AFS

TX filmmakers are gonna miss their biggest supporter

Bryan Poyser in spring, 2010
Bryan Poyser in spring, 2010 (photo by John Anderson)

The Austin Film Society announced today that its Director of Artists Services, Bryan Poyser, will step down from the post this March.

After five years of spreading the good word of Austin film far and wide (the Chron gave him a Best of Austin award in 2009 for being "Texas film's central clearinghouse … and its biggest cheerleader"), Poyser will leave AFS this spring to pursue full-time his filmmaking career, which includes such award-winning films as Dear Pillow and Lovers of Hate. AFS has posted an opening for a new position of Associate Artistic Director; you can read more about the gig here.

We asked Poyser for a few thoughts about the transition, and he sent more than a few back about his time with AFS and what's coming next for him.


"The Austin Film Society has been a huge part of my life ever since I moved to Austin to go to UT in 1993. They delivered to me one of the coolest experiences of my young life until that point, when I got to attend the Austin Premiere of PULP FICTION with Tarantino himself in attendance for only 10 bucks. Straight out of UT, I got a TFPF grant from them in only the 2nd year of the program for a short film that I never made (although I was forgiven 3 years later when I made a different short with the grant money). My first feature, DEAR PILLOW, really never would have been made without the 2 grants that the producer, Jacob Vaughan, and I received from TFPF. In 2006, the Film Society became an even bigger part of my life when I joined the staff. And, even though I could no longer apply for grants myself (drat!), they still supported my filmmaking habit, letting me disappear into the snow for a month in early 2009 when I went up to Park City to shoot my last feature LOVERS OF HATE.

"And, it's not just me – the amount of monetary & moral support AFS has offered to both filmmakers in Austin and beyond is staggering. You have to look no further than this past summer's crazy SLACKER 2011 remake to see how much the film community has grown here over the last 20 years. Would it have been possible, even 10 years ago, to pull together 2 dozen top-drawer Austin filmmakers to make that project, all with resumes packed with screening berths at major international film festivals like Sundance, Cannes, SXSW, Venice, Toronto, etc, plus Independent Spirit Awards and even national theatrical releases for their films? I don't think so. The Austin Film Society has been instrumental in building that community, promoting it, supporting it, sustaining it and helping it grow toward the future. l will be eternally proud of the opportunity I had in the last 5 years to contribute to that mission.

"As far as what specifically is taking me away from AFS right now – it's two things: trying my hand at teaching, and a new movie I'm directing. This past fall, I took my first teaching gig, a screenwriting class down at Texas State in San Marcos and had a blast, so I'm doing it again this semester. As far as the movie, I can't say much about it now. It's a romantic comedy set in Austin, which we will shoot in Austin later this Spring. And, it's going to give me the opportunity to collaborate with some really cool people both in front of and behind the camera, and to make something with more scope than I've attempted before. 

"I have to admit that it's more than a little scary to jump ship from a steady job at an organization I love, and with co-workers that I love, into the turbulent, uncertain waters of freelance employment. But, making movies just makes me happier than anything else and I have to take the plunge."

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Bryan Poyser, Dear Pillow, Lovers of Hate, Austin Film Society

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