Erstwhile New York City arthouse projectionist Ronald Bronstein
makes his feature debut as a writer-director with Frownland
. Dore Mann stars in the film as Keith, who clearly suffers from some type of serious social disorder. Keith has a great deal of trouble communicating. He stammers, he hems and haws, and eventually the words spew out of him in such an urgent torrent that he can't make himself understood. Keith shares a Brooklyn apartment with struggling musician Charles (Paul Grimstad, who composed the score for the film), and they have an antagonistic relationship. Keith pesters Charles about paying the electric bill. Charles, who clearly feels put upon by having to share the same space with Keith, responds with unbridled and pointed insult. Charles, we learn, has his own problems. Keith's source of income is unclear, but he does have a job going door-to-door in the suburbs to raise money for a vaguely shady charity. It's a job for which he's blatantly ill-suited. Keith's social life, such as it is, consists mainly of harassing a hapless bartender, Sandy (David Sandholm), who has somehow come onto his radar, and trying to calm the frequently distraught Laura (Mary Bronstein, the filmmaker's wife, here credited as Mary Wall). At one point, he attempts to use sock puppets to lift her spirits. "Are those my socks?" Laura unhappily responds. Ronald Bronstein self-distributed Frownland
for its theatrical run.