The Chicago International Film Festival starts next weekend, and Joe Swanberg, director/star of one of my favorite films from SXSW 2005, Kissing on the Mouth, will be attending and keeping a fest diary for us. Kissing is playing at the fest and, according to Joe, it is "without a doubt the smallest film" at a festival that also includes mainstream Hollywood stuff like Elizabethtown and The Weatherman, as well as recent fest favorites such as The Death of Mr. Lazarescu and Mutual Appreciation. I'm really looking forward to his guest blogging; the festival experience is completely different for a filmmaker than for a journalist or a fan, and I think it'll be fascinating to dive into all the excitement and stress with him.

I've actually been trying to work it out so that I can be in town for at least the first weekend of the fest, and I'm trying extra hard now that I know that Joe's second feature, LOL (the title alone has sparked somereallybizarremessageboard "controversy"), is almost finished. An experimental ensemble piece, shot, like Kissing, on DV, LOL follows three guys and the ways various types of technology help them and hurt them as they navigate their personal relationships. LOL incorporates photo, video and audio submissions from people from all over the world, which Swanberg mainly solicited online, through the film's website and MySpace profile. Though shooting is almost complete, there are still ways that you can collaborate – if you're interested, contact Joe and friends at And if you're in Chicago, check out Kissing - it screens several times at CIFF, starting on Friday, October 7th.