Joe Swanberg keeps this journal in an effort to document the LOL making process and figure out where all his time and money went.


  • May 2005
  • June 2005
  • July 2005
  • August 2005
  • September 2005
  • October 2005
  • November 2005
  • December 2005
  • January 2006
  • February 2006
  • March 2006
  • April 2006
  • May 2006
  • June 2006
  • June 2007
  • Tuesday, June 26, 2007

    Pre-Order LOL on DVD!


    "The inability to connect in a hyper-wired world is old news given fresh voice in this tragicomic indie about the way we live."

    -Nathan Lee, The New York TImes - (REVIEW)

    "The movie is unusually attentive to the ironies of communications technology: Note the subtle but definite awkwardness that creeps into the conversation after a prospective girlfriend casually tells Alex that she only checks her e-mail once a week."

    -Joshua Land, The Village Voice - (REVIEW)

    "Scruffy, loosely structured and piercingly perceptive about the ways in which technology that supposedly brings people together actually keeps them apart."

    -Maitland McDonagh, - (REVIEW)

    "The film has the quality of something tended to by many affectionate hands, a houseplant that blooms slightly more than it sags."

    -Ed Gonzalez, Slant - (REVIEW)

    " is hilarious, hilariously sad, and incredibly prescient."

    - Aint It Cool News - (REVIEW)

    "LOL is a somewhat stunning mirror on the ways we say things without using words. [Swanberg] reveals himself to be one of the most emotionally astute young filmmakers working today."

    - - (REVIEW)

    "It has no money or stars and is better than every Hollywood release I've seen this year."

    - Cinema Strikes Back

    "LOL is a witty mini-satire of post-collegiates trying to connect romantically and erotically (at least, the women are) in a tangle of up-to-the-minute technology."

    -Gerald Peary, The Boston Phoenix - (REVIEW)

    "Go see this movie! It's funny and original...Joe Swanberg gets the most real, honest performances we've seen
    since the Duplass Brothers"

    - The Duplass Brothers (The Puffy Chair)

    Thursday, June 22, 2006

    LOL is coming to NYC in August

    LOL will be screening for a week at the PIONEER THEATER in New York City, starting Wednesday, August 23. The film will show at 9PM each night and some of us will attend the screenings on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. This will be the New York Premiere of the film! BUY ADVANCE TICKETS NOW!

    Saturday, June 17, 2006

    Provincetown International Film Festival

    Kevin Bewersdorf here, reporting on my solo trip to the Provincetown International Film Festival for a very festive screening of LOL. I dearly missed my festival pals Joe, Tipper, and Chris, but managed to have a gay old time alone.

    I took the high speed ferry out of Boston early in the morning. It was a gray and misty trip, and beautiful because the water moved by so fast. This girl was on the boat. I tried to talk to her, but she went inside.

    Guess who was on the boat? Filmmakers! Front left is my new friend Laura Terruso, who made the hilarious short HIS NAME IS COSMO. Behind her is a dear old friend I met at the Maryland Film Festival, Madeline "Madge" Olnek, who made one of the funniest shorts on the circuit today, HOLD UP. Smiling in the back right is a new friend I met on the dock, Tai Uhlman, director of FOR THE LOVE OF DOLLY, a very sincere documentary about Dolly Parton fans. It was my favorite film I saw at the festival and I reccomend it highly. Looking away from the camera is David Brind, writer/director of the film TWENTY DOLLAR DRINKS starring Sandra Bernhard and Cady Huffman. We all bonded over a nice snack and tried not to get seasick.

    This was my first time in P-town and I was shocked by how small it was. Everything was walkable and hyper quaint, especially the fancy inn the festival put me up in. If you like inns and fudge shops, this is the festival for you.

    We screened at the Whaler's Wharf to a fair sized crowd and luckily the Q&A was pretty standard because it was my first time solo. I was excited to meet Andrew Congdon outside the screening, who works for the podcast ROCKETBOOM. He and his crew did an interview with me, and hopefully you'll be able to check that out on one of their episodes soon.

    Speaking of rockets, this festival was more gay than I ever could have imagined. At the opening night party a shirtless man danced with a watermelon on a table. There were plenty of drag queens around doing karaoke, and I saw John Waters riding past on a bicycle. Most of the films were gay themed except for LOL, and I was curious to see how a mostly gay audience reacted to our movie about straight male relationships. It was fascinating to be the minority - everyone was gay but me!

    Speaking of me, here I am with three very gay and very fun party amigos - Laura, Madeline (Madge), and old friend/festival regular Raymond Lee, producer of the film THE BLOSSOMING OF MAXIMO OLIVEROS. This film played Sundance and has won lots of awards, but I've missed it at every festival I've been to! I love Raymond, he's a sweet guy with such a gentle sense of humor, and I'm so pissed I keep missing his movie. We all got drunk on festival wine at a hotel party overlooking the ocean until we eventually got kicked out of the hotel for being too loud. Sadly I had to leave after only three days! Each festival has been a blast in its own way, so big thanks to P-town festival director Andrew Peterson for programming us. Five word summary of my festival experience: GAY GAY GAY FUN GAY!

    Sunday, June 11, 2006

    Heads Up!

    Dear Pillow/Kissing on the Mouth Fundraiser
    Theater: Alamo Downtown

    Director: Bryan Poyser & Joe Swanberg
    Rating: NR
    Runtime: 163min.

    DOWNTOWN, $15 Admission Benefits Filmmakers’ New Project.
    DEAR PILLOW dir. Bryan Poyser, 2004, DV, 85 min, NR;
    KISSING ON THE MOUTH dir. Joe Swanberg, 2005, DV, 78 min, NR.
    Both films contain material of a highly adult nature.

    PLEASE NOTE: the first film starts promptly at 6:30pm, so get there early (6pm - 6:15pm) for intros from the directors, a great raffle and more!!!

    One is from Austin, one is from Chicago. Both present contemporary sexuality in ways that are frank, funny and might make you blush. Don’t bring your parents but definitely bring your friends and help fund the making of a new short film. Nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and veteran of over 30 film festivals, DEAR PILLOW follows a 17-year-old supermarket bagboy as he befriends a pornography-writing neighbor. This dark mentor helps the boy achieve his adolescent dream – finally getting laid. The Los Angeles Times called it “provocative… witty and perceptive…” and Variety named it “a striking debut.” Chicago filmmaker Joe Swanberg made waves at the 2006 SXSW Film Festival with his highly acclaimed LOL. KISSING ON THE MOUTH is his feature debut. The small cast served as the only crew on the film, an intimate, humorous, no-holds-barred look at sex and infidelity in post-collegiate relationships that features frank dialogue and explicit sex. “A quirky, definitely sexy movie…” said The Boston Phoenix and Film Threat called it “intelligent and honest.” Directors Poyser and Swanberg will be in attendance. Proceeds help fund “Best Birthday Ever,” a short film directed by Poyser and starring Swanberg and Dear Pillow star Rusty Kelley. A ticket also enters you in a raffle where you can win badges to the SXSW Film Festival, the Austin Film Festival and other explicitly fun stuff!

    Tuesday, May 16, 2006

    Magical Maryland

    We really lucked out with LOL, because we seem to end up at the most amazing Festivals in the country. I had heard from other filmmakers who had previously attended the Maryland Film Festival that it was a good time, but nothing could have prepared Kevin, Tipper, or I for the amount of fun we would have in Baltimore

    We had our good friend Spencer Parsons crashing with us at the hotel this time. Shorts filmmakers usually don't receive the first class treatment that feature filmmakers get, so we try and lend them a hand when we can. Spencer's great film, ONCE AND FUTURE ASSHOLE, was playing in the Festival. He used to live in Baltimore, so he also served as occasional navigator when we were lost or looking for something.

    The Festival really took care of us when it came to food. In addition to our hotel's free breakfast, there were often Festival sponsored brunches and dinners. This was the set-up at the Zodiac Cafe, a very cool place across from the Charles Theatre where we ended up hanging out and eating a few times during the weekend.

    There was also a great filmmaker tent full of food and free Red Bull. Tipper and Kevin are figuring out their schedule and grabbing a bite to eat between movies.

    After missing it at a bunch of other Festivals, Tipper and I were finally able to see Michael Tully's film COCAINE ANGEL. Here is Tully (on the right) talking to his adoring fans after the screening. Tipper and I sat next to his parents and many other friends and crew members attended the screening. We run into a lot of the same people at different Festivals, and Michael is definitely one of our favorites.

    Most Festivals have very nice perks for filmmakers, but few come anywhere close to what the Maryland Film Festival offers. Our Festival badges got us free admission to most of the museums in town, and also the aquarium. Here we are at the dolphin show. I was especially thrilled that the aquarium had a special exhibit on frogs!

    The hands down winner of the "Best Filmmaker Perk Ever" award goes to the front row tickets we got to a Baltimore Orioles game. Each year, Cal Ripken Jr. and his wife donate their seats to the Festival, and filmmakers get to go watch a game from the best seats in the house. It was amazing!

    I don't mean to brag too much about the seats, but we were only a few feet from the Orioles dugout and we were on TV after almost every pitch. We were right behind the batter!

    The game was especially fun because of the company. We hung out with (from left to right) Chris Sheridan and Patty Kim, who made ABDUCTION: THE MEGUMI YOKOTA STORY, Spencer Parsons, one of Todd Rohal's friends, and Jay Wade Edwards, the man behind, STOMP! SHOUT! SCREAM! Not pictured is Todd Rohal, who made, THE GUATEMALAN HANDSHAKE. He bought Tipper and I Dip' n' Dots and we will always be grateful to him.

    Kevin, Tipper, and I took a little trip to the set of the opening scene in LOL. Chase Lisbon, who lives in Baltimore, shot the opening scene, and we were excited to visit the place that we had only ever seen in the movie. If you have seen the movie, you will recognize this living room from the video that's playing on the computer. Cool.

    The closing night party turned into a DANCE PARTY!!!!! when Tipper and Lynn Shelton, the writer/director of the really amazing film, WE GO WAY BACK, started rocking out to the band. Jay Wade Edwards and I joined in and before long there were others cutting a rug.

    We ended the Festival on a perfect note, hanging out with Lynn at the hotel, taking turns checking our email, and talking about movies until the wee hours of the morning.

    It's hard to know when the whole LOL crew might be together at another Festival. Some of us might be attending different screenings over the summer, but we probably won't be together as a group until the Chicago Underground Film Festival in August. This was a great wrap-up to the Spring Festival season. Kevin, Tipper, Greta, and I will be working together on a new movie this summer, so stay tuned for news about that, and keep checking back for new screenings!

    Friday, April 28, 2006

    Boston Blast!

    I'm still on the road, but here's the update from the super-ultra-wonderful-we can't believe it really happened Independent Film Festival of Boston. Wow! What a great Festival! Get your films ready for next year. You don't want to miss this one.

    Free gifts were flowing at the Festival. This sweet bag was just the start. It was full of CDs and we were also given a Festival T-shirt, coupons for ice cream, and even a pair of shoes (!!!) from a company called No Sweat that doesn't use any sweatshop labor.

    A dedicated staff of volunteers took care of us all weekend and made sure the food was constantly replenished and the Red Bull was flowing. We spent every moment we could hanging out in the Filmmaker Lounge.

    The Festival put us up in a super swank hotel that came with multiple leopard print robes. If you send Kevin an email he might show you some pics from our late night photo shoot featuring this robe.

    Before our first Boston screening, Kevin and I took the film to Prividence, RI for a screening at the Rhode Island School of Design. Kevin went to school here and we were excited to show the film to students. The screening took place in The Tap Room.

    The screening was great, and lots of people showed up to check it out. Special Thanks to Paul Connelly, who help us set this event up.

    After the screening we hung out with some of Kevin's friends who were in Providence. We crashed in Providence and I took the bus back to Boston in the morning.

    While Kevin and I were in Providence, Kris and Tipper decided to hang out in a graveyard...or something...I have no idea about this picture.

    We had our first of two sell-out screenings, and our best Q & A yet, on Friday night. The audience was great and asked very intelligent questions after the screening. They really seemed to "get it" and were excited about the way we made the film. Our wonderful moderator Joshua can be seen on the far right.

    The Festival hosted a bunch of really fun parties, featuring acts like UV Protection, seen here. We ran into a lot of filmmakers that we knew from previous festivals... the gang from THE LAST ROMANTIC. You can also see our new friend, Troy Morgan, in the background on the right.

    We also spent a lot of time hanging out with the super cool Michael Tully, who we will be seeing a lot of on the Festival scene over the coming months. I plan to finally see his film, COCAINE ANGEL, at the Maryland Film Festival in May.

    Festival Co-Founder and Director Jason Redmond took a moment from his hectic schedule to pose for a photo with Kris and Tipper.

    We also spent some time with Boston Phoenix critic/Filmmaker Gerald Peary and his Filmmaker wife Amy Gellar. We always look forward to seeing Gerry at SXSW, but this was the first time on his home turf.

    Tipper and Kris had a celebrity encounter with Michael Cera, the very sweet actor from the great show, Arrested Development. Michael was in a short film, DARLING DARLING, that was part of the Festival, and we saw him around quite a bit during the weekend.

    The last time I saw Arin and Susan, the masterminds behind FOUR EYED MONSTERS, I was dropping them off at a train station in Chicago as they rushed to the airport to catch a plane back to NY. They were in Boston to present their podcasts promoting the film.

    Adam Roffman (Festival Programmer) and I do our impersonation of the FEMs. Adam invited LOL to the Festival and we tried all weekend to express our gratitude. We hope to be back next year with a new project.

    Please join us on our next adventure in Baltimore. We will be at the Maryland Film Festival from May 11-14.

    Wednesday, April 12, 2006

    Philly in Photos

    We are home from the Philadelphia Film Festival, and once again, I have a wrap-up report with lots of pictures.

    We all landed at separate times, but we coordinated to have a driver from the Festival get as many of us as possible. The wonderful Mark James picked Kevin, Kris, and I up, but we couldn't find Tipper. We were driving around the airport when one of us spotted her walking. We yelled her name through many lanes of airport traffic and she finally heard us and came over to the car. She claims that our many phone calls to her did not show up on her phone.

    The Festival was nice enough to hook us up with a place to stay. Since there were so many of us in town, we got an apartment, instead of a hotel room. Here we are after just arriving.

    Nothing fishy going on here, just a late night photo shoot. Tipper saw a lot of horror films in Philly so we had to do fun things before we went to sleep so that she wouldn't be scared.

    Our first screening was very well attended and we had a great Q&A session afterward. We got some new questions and the audience seemed to really like the film.

    As is our custom, we handed out free LOL Soundtracks after the Q&A. It's great to have people come up and talk to us individually after the film. We always meet a lot of nice people.

    Here is Tipper talking to filmmaker Paul Harrill after the screening. We spent some time hanging out with Paul during the weekend and talking about the changing landscape of indie film. He's keeping up with all the changes on his blog.

    The following morning, some high-school friends of Kevin and mine invited us over for breakfast. Drew Spear (right) is a chef, and prepared a delicious multi-course meal for us.

    One of the nice things about traveling to Festivals is the chance to do touristy things.

    Tipper and Kevin did a impromptu photo shoot outside of some Philadelphia landmark.

    The Festival threw a delicious brunch for the Guests at a swank downtowm restaurant. The food was amazing and we got to meet other filmmaker who were in town.

    Here I am with Jesse Dubus, PFF's amazing print-traffic guy. Chris and Jesse were friends before the Festival, and he served as our unofficial guide for the weekend. He knew where all the parties were happening, and how to get us from one place to the next.

    My parents came to the second screening of the film, and afterward they took us all out for Philly Cheesesteaks at a nearby restaurant.

    The next stop is Boston. We will be there April 19-24th. Please come see the film if you have a chance.