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SMILE LIKE YOU MEAN IT

by
in Filmmaking
on Aug 30, 2007


I want to thank David Lowery for contributing the great interview with Ronnie Bronstein that’s up on the main page right now. I love Bronstein’s film Frownland and am really happy to be hosting a special screening of it with director Lodge Kerrigan at the IFC Center next Wednesday at 7:30 pm. Lowery is right when he calls Frownland “one of the most confrontational and uncompromising visions to emerge from the American independent scene in recent memory,” and I hope that a lot of you come to this special edition of Filmmaker‘s series at the IFC.

Here’s a taste of the interview, but click on the link above and check out the whole piece:

Filmmaker: What was the production of the film like? Again, judging from the credits, it looks like you had a tiny crew. The entire picture seems quite handmade.

Bronstein: Yeah, I wanted to make something that felt really intimate and it’s funny how a sort of crummy, slipshod aesthetic can do that. Sort of like the feeling you get from reading some hand-scrawled Xeroxed fanzine, where the sloppiness of the presentation becomes a kind of expressive asset to the work, rather than something you have to excuse. I don’t know. I mean if you run across a typo in The New York Times, it’s just flat-out distracting. It doesn’t bring you closer to the writer or the ideas or anything. It merely outs some birdbrain who didn’t do his job correctly. But in the case of something loudly handmade, an error can actually reel you in closer. It points to a total lack of pasteurization and makes a beeline between you and the person that created it. You get this feeling from Syd Barrett records and you get it from Robert Crumb comics and it’s something I want to give off in the work I make. But, yeesh, to actually answer your question, we were a small group of 6 or 7, cast and crew included. Petty quarrels, bad moods and various levels of insidious coaxing were common occurrences I guess, but that’s only because we lived together like a family for several years and everybody was super emotionally invested in the project, which is the only way I can imagine working really. The thought of surrounding myself with technicians who don’t personally identify with the work is sort of scary to me. I think it would constipate me creatively.

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