Joe SwanbergI can barely keep up with indie filmmaker Joe Swanberg's projects. He's had films screen at SXSW two years in a row: Kissing on the Mouth in 2005 and LOL in 2006 ... and I'm wondering if we'll see Hannah Takes the Stairs in Austin in 2007. The Chicago-based filmmaker co-produced a multi-episode webcast for Nerve called Young American Bodies, and that's received a lot of praise. On top of that he's made a number of short films that he distributes through his website. And in his spare time, for fun, he's starring in Austin filmmaker Bryan Poyser's upcoming short film, Best Birthday Ever. I've met Swanberg and he always seems to be bursting with energy.

Swanberg's latest project is one that could totally make or break him: the in-house trailers for SXSW 2007. If you've ever attended a film festival, you know about these trailers. You end up seeing them multiple times -- if you attend enough films, you're sick of even the best trailers by the end of the festival. They're also the only films that will be watched by every single film festival attendee, so it's great exposure for filmmakers.

SXSW has a long tradition of good in-house trailers: the Burger Hut shorts, considered some of the best, are available to view on YouTube. I can still practically recite from memory the 2005 trailers, directed by Bob Odenkirk (Melvin Goes to Dinner), which featured Jeff Goldblum and Ron Livingston. The trailers were a little repetitive, but they were better than in 2006, when SXSW relied solely on a single IFC-branded in-house trailer that was annoying even the first time. Matt Dentler, producer of SXSW's film festival, says that the festival may include another IFC trailer next year as a "policy trailer" (telling you not to smoke or use your cell phone), but also will use the Swanberg trailers.

So we're all relying on you, Mr. Swanberg, to entertain us in those brief moments between the house lights dimming and the films beginning next March. If we can make it through four days without groaning and wanting to throw things, you'll be a success. If we can make it through the entire film festival without hating the trailers and cursing your name, you'll be a genius.