Art History

Art History

Joe Swanberg and Josephine Decker in ART HISTORY, a film by Joe Swanberg. Picture courtesy Joe Swanberg. All rights reserved.

Art History

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Executive Producer:

* Most external filmography links go to The Internet Movie Database.

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Art History (2011)

Opened: 09/23/2011 Limited

reRun Theater09/23/2011 - 09/29/20117 days

Trailer: Click for trailer

Websites: Home

Genre: Drama

Rated: Unrated


ART HISTORY delves into the emotional minefield of intimate low-budget filmmaking. Sam, a film director, has feelings for Juliette, the lead actress in his current production. He must maintain a professional relationship with her while they work on a sexually explicit relationship drama centered on a couple's one night stand. All is going well until Juliette and her co-star, Eric, develop feelings for each other that they explore offcamera. Sam is happy that his actors have such good chemistry, but feels jealous at the same time. Juliette feels Sam's shifting moods and does her best to show him affection, but his own inner struggles threaten to derail the production.

Set entirely in one location over the course of a few days, ART HISTORY uses long static takes and minimal lighting to create a mood of claustrophobia and mystery. The characters are all having individual experiences and the other members of the group often seem unaware of each other, despite the small space that they are living and working in.

Director's Statement

I spend much of my life planning, making, and thinking about films. It feels natural that my work has gravitated toward the creative process and the relationship dynamics between artists. I was looking to make films quickly and comfortably after the long and difficult process of making SILVER BULLETS. Choosing one location and surrounding myself with my wife and three of our friends was an ideal situation. I was able to be extremely critical of myself and my own mistakes as a filmmaker because I was surrounded by people whom I loved and trusted. This film is an apology to anyone I have hurt because of the way I work or because of my own emotional recklessness. As the title suggests, I hope all of these instances are in the past.

-- Joe Swanberg

Cast and Crew Biographies

Joe Swanberg (Writer/Director/Producer/Editor) ("Sam")

Joe Swanberg (b. 1981) has directed the features KISSING ON THE MOUTH (2005), LOL (2006), HANNAH TAKES THE STAIRS (2007), NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS (2008), ALEXANDER THE LAST (2009) and UNCLE KENT (2011). His films have premiered at Sundance and the SXSW Film Festival. He created the series BUTTERKNIFE for and also directs and stars in the web series YOUNG AMERICAN BODIES, which he produces with his wife, Kris. It can be viewed for free on and Swanberg studied film production at Southern Illinois University where he developed an interest in emerging video technology and a crippling addiction to the Internet. All of Joe's films are owned by IFC Films and can be viewed on

Josephine Decker (Writer/Actor) ("Juliette")

Fortunate to be collaborating with artists she admires, Josephine spent 2010 DP-ing a film directed by extraordinary photographer Sarah Small, directing surreal videos for children, and writing a feature film with and about the all-women's Main Squeeze Accordion Orchestra. Her recent performance art piece SpilLover -- addressing the BP oil spill -- received coverage in NY Daily News, The New York Times, and on WNYC. Josephine's films have screened at Silverdocs, SXSW, Maryland Film Festival, Provinceton, Sidewalk Film Festival, about 100 other fests around the world. Back in the day, Josephine worked in TV helping to produce for A&E, Hallmark, and The Discovery Times Channel.

After she finished her feature documentary "Bi The Way" -- featured in The Austin Chronicle, Curve Magazine and The New York Times and now airing on The Logo Network -- Josephine got an accordion for her birthday (thanks, mom!). She now plays it with the Main Squeeze Accordion Orchestra and in the banjo-accordion duo Baccordio! with actor Charlie Hewson. Her music video work has been featured at the SXSW Film Festival and on Comcast (Kidsbop) Preschool On Demand Channel, won the NAPPA Honors Award and was endorsed by Kids First Coalition for Quality Children's Media.

While directing a music video for the band Astrograss, Josephine had an idea to send a kid pirate on a mission to conquer New York. Her recent short "Me The Terrible" -- currently in post-production -- explores the age-old rivalry of child versus architecture, sea monster, bike gang, bowling pins: NYC. Guess who wins...?

Josephine plans to make her first (two?) narrative feature(s?) in 2011, and she's always looking for great collaborators. Feel free to get in touch with her at j at josephinedecker dot com.

Kent Osborne (Writer/Executive Producer/Actor) ("Eric")

An East Coast native, multihyphenate Kent Osborne (the brother of director Mark Osborne) graduated from Hunterdon Central High in Flemington, NJ. Osborne gravitated to the west coast in subsequent years, then made an early on-camera appearance as an actor in the racially charged youth drama School Ties (1992) (alongside Matt Damon and Ben Affleck). Almost a decade later, Osborne reemerged on the scene, this time as both an actor (Surviving Christmas, Open House) and as one of Hollywood's more offbeat screenwriters; scripting credits included the 2004 animated outing The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie) and the slice-of-life, "mumblecore" comedy Hannah Takes the Stairs (2007) (in which he also acted). In 2008, Osborne reteamed with Hannah stars Greta Gerwig and Joe Swanberg for a supporting role in the duo's co-directorial outing Nights and Weekends.

Adam Wingard (Cinematographer/Actor) ("Bill")

Adam Wingard was born in Oakridge , Tennessee and studied film at Full Sail University in Winter Park , Florida . He has since worked as a writer, director, cinematographer and editor on many of his films. His short films include The Little One (04), The Girlfriend (05), 1000 Year Sleep (07), Laura Panic (07) and Paradox Mary (08). He has directed the features Home Sick (07), Pop Skull (07) and A Horrible Way to Die (10).

Kris Swanberg ("Hillary")

Kris Swanberg acted in the 2005 film, "Kissing On The Mouth." She has also appeared Frank V. Ross' films, "Present Company" and "Audrey the Trainwreck." In 2006, she directed a short documentary, "Bathwater," and produced her own web series, "Boys and Girls." She lives and works in Chicago running her ice cream business, Nice Cream (