01/20/2014 10:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Joe Swanberg's Happy Christmas at Sundance


After watching Joe Swanberg's HAPPY CHRISTMAS, my first thought was "I wish that had been directed by a woman." The film tackled complicated issues specific to the female experience, it would launch a wonderful career for a female director (which there are very few of), and Melanie Lynskey was essentially flawless in it. Keep reading and you'll see where I land on this...

The credit for why this film works so well can be spread around due to the nature of how Happy Christmas was made. Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey, Joe Swanberg and Lena Dunham improvised their own dialogue. Director of Photography, Ben Richardson, did a particularly beautiful job capturing the scenes considering that it never felt improvised or unplanned for a second, a real rarity for a largely improvised film. And it was as intimate of a shoot as you can get - shot with a crew of five. However, Joe Swanberg clearly created am incredible space, vision and idea to work from. He even generously tried to share the credit during the Q&A with his DP, saying Ben Richardson was essentially his co-director.

So back to my "fleeting feeling." I was wrong. I was wrong to want a woman, or anyone else, to direct Happy Christmas. I want many more feminist male directors out there who are interested in telling compelling stories about women. i want more men to use fascinating actresses like Melanie Lynskey in their films. The world could use more Joe Swanbergs.