The Sundance Film Festival expands to audiences across the country for one special night of film and dialogue.
For one night, the Sundance Film Festival dispatches nine filmmakers from Park City to nine cities across the country to screen and discuss their direct-from-Festival films with audiences. In past years, the Music Box has welcomed Philip Seymour Hoffman for a screening of Jack Goes Boating and Julie Delpy for 2 Days In New York.
This year we welcome hometown favorite Joe Swanberg with his film Happy Christmas.
2013, 78 minutes, color, U.S.A.,
It’s almost Christmas, and Jenny just broke up with her boyfriend. Without a real plan, she moves into her brother, Jeff, and sister-in-law, Kelly’s, spacious bachelor-pad basement in Chicago. As she reconnects with old friends and attempts to put her life back together, she continues to self-sabotage by repeatedly getting drunk and high. Kelly becomes fed up with Jenny’s immature behavior but soon realizes that she, too, feels stuck. As Christmas draws near, Jenny and Kelly realize that they can offer each other the solace and support they’ve both been craving.
Director Joe Swanberg returns to Sundance Film Festival (his film Uncle Kent played at the 2011 Festival) with his signature voyeuristic approach to filmmaking, offering a refreshing and candid look at complicated family interactions. His wonderfully imperfect characters pull each other out of their respective ruts and bring a strikingly human element to a story we all know well. The female characters in this film form a tight bond—a drunken sisterhood of sorts—enabling them to discover their true potential.
About the Director
Joe Swanberg is the director of many feature films, including Hannah Takes the Stairs, V/H/S, and Drinking Buddies. His work has premiered at the Sundance, Berlin, and SXSW film festivals. As an actor, he has starred in films, including Adam Wingard’s A Horrible Way to Die and You’re Next and Ti West’s The Sacrament, as well as performing in his own work
Cast and Credits
Director: Joe Swanberg
Screenwriter: Joe Swanberg
Producers: Joe Swanberg, Peter Gilbert
Coproducer: Alicia Van Couvering
Cinematographer: Ben Richardson
Music Supervisor: Chris Swanson
Associate Producer: Eddie Linker
Editor: Joe Swanberg
Principal Cast: Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey, Mark Webber, Lena Dunham, Joe Swanberg
Anna Kendrick plays Jenny, an irresponsible 20-something who comes to Chicago to live with her older brother Jeff (Swanberg), a young filmmaker living a happy existence with his novelist wife Kelly (Lynskey) and their two-year-old son. Jenny’s arrival shakes up their quiet domesticity as she and her friend Carson (Dunham) instigate an evolution in Kelly’s life and career. Meanwhile, Jenny strikes up a rocky relationship with the family’s baby sitter-cum-pot dealer (Webber).