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Every great film starts with a great script… except for those that don’t have one.   

Throughout the history of filmmaking there have been a few iconoclastic spirits who show up on set without a script and proceed to film a movie, letting the actors improvise their own dialogue and collaborate on the direction of the story. From John Cassavetes to Christopher Guest, we’ll chart their bold experiments in unscripted narrative cinema. 

We’re joined by Joe Swanberg, the reigning auteur of improvised filmmaking of the past 20 years. Starting from microbudget roots, the prolific Swanberg (who once made seven features in one year) has gone on to guiding stars like Anna Kendrick, Orlando Bloom, and Olivia Wilde through his raw nerve approach to cinema. We’ll delve into his process and filmmaking techniques, and discover how vicissitude informs verisimilitude.  


All attendees are welcomed to enjoy a complimentary reception following the program.

Lost & Found at the Movies is generously supported by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association

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Joe Swanberg

Joe Swanberg is the director of 20 feature films, including HANNAH TAKES THE STAIRS, DRINKING BUDDIES and HAPPY CHRISTMAS.  He is best know for creating, writing and directling all 25 episodes of the Netflix Original Series EASY, which ran for three seasons from 2016-2019.  His acting credits include the cult classics YOU’RE NEXT, THE SACRAMENT and V/H/S (for which he also directed a segment) and he starred in Josephine Decker’s THOU WAST MILD AND LOVELY.  He currently runs a member’s only VHS rental store in Chicago, where he lives.

Gillian Wallace Horvat

Gillian Wallace Horvat is an Independent Spirit Award-nominated filmmaker whose work has shown at Rotterdam, SXSW, Venice and other festivals around the globe. Her short form documentaries on film history have appeared on dozens of blu-rays and her film writing has appeared online in Filmmaker Magazine, Sight & Sound and Talkhouse.

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