YEAST a film by MARY BRONSTEIN. 2008. USA. 78 min. With Greta Gerwig. IN PARTNERSHIP WITH MEZZANINE. A whirlwind comedy about the tragedy of being in New York during your twenties.

This film screened exclusively for a week and is currently not available online.

We’re excited to present Mary Bronstein’s Yeast, a tragicomic look at young adulthood and toxic friendships in sleaze-era Brooklyn. Shot on a MiniDV camcorder by cinematographer Sean Price Williams, Bronstein’s only directorial effort to date delights in its discomforts, balancing endless verbal jabs with visual jolts and turning them into a symphony of despair that sees its heroine’s continued disrepair. It is also our pleasure to team up with Mezzanine, an independent and revival film series based in LA, for our screening of this mumblecore treasure.


Yeast orbits around the always frazzled, doe-eyed Rachel (played by the director herself) and her agonizingly annoying two friends: Gen (Greta Gerwig) and Alice (Amy Judd). The trio is meant to go on a weekend road trip, but the plan quickly falls apart minutes into Yeast, leaving behind a trail of unresolved drama that suffocates the film’s characters from thereon.



“The initial inspiration for Yeast was all the thinking I’d been doing about friendship, female friendships in particular. I am the type of person who has never had a large group of close friends, usually I’ll have one or two very intensely close friendships.” MARY BRONSTEIN


The spirit of mid-2000s micro-budget filmmaking that followed the heyday of 90s independent art in America has proven to be widely influential, a ground zero for contemporary NYC filmmakers who are among the most essential and celebrated in cinema today.  Yeast stands out like a rare record from this short-lived but pivotal micro-wave of American filmmaking; its frenetic camerawork and pointed observations about life’s struggles nod to the future of American cinema as realized by members of its own cast and crew, including Josh and Benny Safdie, Sean Price Williams, and Greta Gerwig.


Mary Bronstein was born in White Plains, NY, in 1979. After studying acting at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Bronstein went on to star in her then-husband’s grunge triumph Frownland and direct Yeast, which premiered at SXSW in 2008. She is currently working on her second feature. Listen to Mary Bronstein talk about Yeast, channeling anger into creativity, and how the film is in many ways a response to the insular, male-centric mumblecore scene of the late 2000s and early 2010s, in the latest episode of the Screen Slate podcast.


Text written by Nicolas Pedrero-Setzer.

Credits for
Greta Gerwig, Josh Safdie, Benny Safdie & Amy Judd Lieberman
produced by
Marc Raybin
cinematography by
Michael Tully & Sean Price Williams
Ronald Bronstein