In her excellent review of Frownland, NYT critic Manhola Dargis calls the film "personal film-making at its most fierce." This being the case, it would be a good idea to know a little bit about writer and director Ronald Bronstein. On the film's website someone claims that "Ronald Bronstein has spent the last five years several floors below street level in projection booths all over nyc. There deprived of both sunlight and fresh circulating oxygen, he has screened and watched and average of 600 movies a year. This is his first time making one." Woah, sounds like an OFFscreen guy. The film follows main character Keith Sontag (Dore Mann)through a series of embarrassing, painful, and comic episodes to create a portrait that comes to life on film. Frownland has had succes, winning a Special Jury Award at SXSW in 2007 and a Gotham Award in 2007 for the Best Film Not Playing in a Theater Near You, although we like to think that we have solved that problem for UVA students and the Charlottesville community.
More links and info after the jump!
Frownland is not an easy film to watch. Roger Ebert, of all people, describes what we see in the film. He asks here "Now why would you want to see this film? Most readers of this review probably wouldn't. I'm writing for the rest of us. It is a rebirth of the need for expression that inspired the American independent movement in the first place, 50 years ago. It was written, directed and edited by Ronald Bronstein, who had a crew of one cameraman, one soundman and one grip. It has not been picked up for distribution; he is distributing it himself at shrines to outsider cinema." Like Paper Covers Rock, Frownland is a daring and engrossing film that simply cannot crack into larger distribution networks. OFFscreen is proud to present Frownland on Sunday, January 25 in the Newcomb theater at 7 and 9:30.
New Yorker Review
Trailer also available in last post.