Every year, the Houston Film Commission curates the Texas Filmmakers’ Showcase, a collection of short films by Texas directors. The showcase, which comprises eight movies, is touring the state, making stops in several Texas cities.
This year, the showcase features works by two Austin filmmakers, Bryan Poyser and Jason Neulander. Poyser is a veteran, having directed three features and five short films over the past fifteen years. "I've actually been trying to do at least one short in between the features that I've made," Poyser says. "With a short, it's a lot easier to just pull the trigger and do one." His latest short (the one that a part of this showcase) is More Than Four Hours, a comedy about a school teacher trying to hide the affects of an accidental Viagra dosing.
For Poyser, creating lower budget, shorter films like this gives him room to experiment a bit and take chances that might not be viable when creating a feature-length film. Or, in the case of More Than Four Hours, to tell a more contained story. "It has a very distinct beginning, middle, and end and wouldn't work if it was sustained throughout the course of a whole feature."
Neulander came to the showcase from another direction. After a long career as a stage director (he's the founder of Salvage Vanguard Theater and the longtime writer/director of The Intergalactic Nemesis), he's now moving into the world of cinema with his first short film, Hit & Run. For him, creating a short was a way to learn the craft. "I'm still... really learning how to do it," he says. "I didn't think that it would necessarily even be good when I decided to make it. It really was an experiment all the way through."
Neulander's film is a mysterious thriller; a woman and her brother investigate the scene of a hit and run accident (caused by the brother), where, in Neulander's words, "they find this weird amulet and things go downhill from there."
The Texas Filmmakers’ Showcase makes its Austin stop on Wednesday, November 9 at the Violet Crown Theatre.