CS Video Interview: Filmmaker Joe Swanberg on Happy Christmas


The film term “mumblecore” may be dead and buried, but that hasn’t stopped some of the primary filmmakers and actors from that media-devised movement from continuing to evolve over time to do some of their best work, often with better-known mainstream actors.

Following one of his best movies to date, last year’s Drinking Buddies, Joe Swanberg is back with Happy Christmas, in which he plays Jeff, a young father married to Melanie Lynskie’s Kelly, the two of them getting a visit from his irresponsible younger sister Jenny, played by Anna Kendrick. While Jeff and Kelly are trying their best to raise their young son, Jenny’s presence adds a new whole new level of difficulties, as she becomes involved with their babysitter (Mark Webber) and gets into trouble with her friend Carson (Lena Dunham).

Happy Christmas was made using same improvised style that Swanberg has used to make all his movies, which makes the dialogue and interactions feel much more fluid, and there’s the same sense of situational humor that’s permeated most of Swanberg’s previous work.

ComingSoon.net sat down with the filmmaker for the video interview below in which we talked about pulling together the cast, including working for a second time with Kendrick, who brings her newfound starpower to help bring attention to Swanberg’s work. Continuing to work with better-known actors as well as getting Lena Dunham involved despite how busy she is with HBO’s “Girls.” He also talks about starring in one of his own movies for the first time in a number of years along with his young son Jude, shooting on film, how he’s been able to be so prolific over the past few years but how he hopes to spend more time promoting his movies to get them out there, a few bits about his next movie “Digging for Fire” and more.

Happy Christmas has been playing on Demand and on iTunes for the past month, but it opens in select cities Friday, July 25 (Chicago, L.A., Philadelphia and Denver), New York and other cities on August 1 and you can find out where else on the Magnolia site.