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Best of What's Next: Filmmaker Lena Dunham

October 11, 2010  |  11:57am
Best of What's Next: Filmmaker Lena Dunham

HOMETOWN: New York
FILM: Tiny Furniture
FOR FANS OF: Woody Allen, Diablo Cody, Greta Gerwig

Like many twentysomethings, Lena Dunham moved home a few years ago after graduating from college. Unlike many twentysomethings, she turned the experience into an independent movie that nabbed the 2010 South By Southwest Narrative Feature Film Award and will see its U.S. theatrical release this November.

Dunham wrote, directed and starred in Tiny Furniture, cast family members to play themselves and shot the film in her TriBeCa home. “I feel like I was in a very lucky situation because I grew up around people doing what they loved for a job and making money,” says the 24-year-old Oberlin grad, “which gave me the semi-delusional idea that that would be an OK thing to try to do myself.”

Her mother, Laurie Simmons, is a photographer; her father, painter Carroll Dunham, has been featured in New York’s Museum of Modern Art. But Dunham (whose first feature was 2009’s Creative Nonfiction, and who also writes, directs and produces the darkly parodic web series Delusional Downtown Divas) was under no pressure to live up to their successes—or to find a place of her own. “I’m now at a point in my life where I could afford to move out should I want to. I could swing moving to Brooklyn,” she says. “But I have such a good work routine going here. You know, when you’re writing all day for a job, sometimes you’re in an office and sometimes it gets a little bit solitary. My mom’s studio’s in the house and so she’s here and her assistants are here. So for right now I’m really into it.”

“And,” she adds, “I have a great bedroom.”

WHAT’S NEXT: After spending the summer working on a script she hopes to start shooting this winter, Dunham says she’s “doing a few writing projects for hire that I’m still not allowed to exactly say what they are. But it’s fun—I’m working on a TV project and a book adaptation and both of those things are real pleasures to write. [...] I just hope to keep making movies and writing for a long time.”

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