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Exclusive: Joe Swanberg Made a Christmas Movie on 16mm With Anna Kendrick, Lena Dunham, Melanie Lynskey, and Mark Webber

Exclusive: Joe Swanberg Made a Christmas Movie on 16mm With Anna Kendrick, Lena Dunham, Melanie Lynskey, and Mark Webber

Joe Swanberg has undoubtedly entered into a new stage of his career, but that hasn’t slowed down his output. “Drinking Buddies,” his romantic comedy starring Olivia Wilde and Anna Kendrick, was well-received at SXSW and received a distribution deal with Magnolia Pictures. While “Drinking Buddies” comes out this summer, it’s far from the last Swanberg movie that will screen in 2013: His Jane Adams-starring drama “All the Light in the Sky” comes out this fall, and he’s currently editing two features, including the previously reported low budget production “24 Exposures.”

Additionally, Indiewire has exclusively learned that Swanberg shot another movie last December that, like “Drinking Buddies,” unites several familiar faces for an intimate story.

Tentatively called “Happy Christmas,” the Chicago-set production reunites the filmmaker with Kendrick as well as “Girls” creator Lena Dunham, Melanie Lynskey and Mark Webber. Though these actors have some mainstream clout, they’ve all recently produced work in the indie space. Lynskey starred in the Sundance opener “Hello I Must Be Going,” while Webber directed an intimate feature about father, “The End of Love,” which opened earlier this year.

Though Swanberg preferred to keep most of the plot secret for now, he said that it “focuses on a family and is set during the holidays.” He also revealed another detail about the production perhaps even more impressive than its cast: Working with “Beasts of the Southern Wild” cinematographer Ben Richardson (who also shot “Drinking Buddies”), the quintessentially digital-friendly Swanberg made “Happy Christmas” on Super 16mm film, his first production to utilize the medium since film school. “I sensed that pretty soon it might be too late to go through that process again,” he said. “I wanted to do it at least one more time.” Swanberg hopes the film will make the festival rounds next year.

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Judicial Joe

I was lucky enough to be a member of only the third public audience in the world to see All the Light in the Sky. It's possibly his best work to date. Hanging out with Swanbro at the bar afterwards, he bemoaned the death of film stock, saying that it would all but kill film restoration. Looking forward to these next three projects.

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