A double prize winner at the Sundance Film Festival and one of the most critically acclaimed films of 2008, Ballast is a stunningly evocative story of personal catastrophe and communal redemption.
In the cold winter light of the Mississippi Delta, three lonely people stumble under the weight of a shared tragedy. Lawrence (Micheal J. Smith, Sr.) is paralyzed with grief after the loss of his twin brother. Twelve-year-old James (Jimmyron Ross) drifts into the perilous orbit of local teenagers while his single mother, Marlee (Tarra Riggs), is too exhausted from her menial job to interpret the clues. When sudden violence forces mother and son to flee their home in the night, they alight desperately on Lawrence’s property. Though this provides safe harbor, it rekindles the fury of a bitter, longstanding conflict. Writer-director Lance Hammer and his gifted cast of local, non-professional actors have created an unflinching, profoundly humane story of lost souls forced by circumstance to seek solace in the most unlikely of places.
AN ALLUVIAL FILM COMPANY
PRODUCTION AND RELEASE
MICHEAL J. SMITH, SR., JIMMYRON ROSS, TARRA RIGGS, JOHNNY MCPHAIL
PRODUCTION DESIGNER: JEREL LEVANWAY
COSTUME DESIGNER: CAROLINE ESELIN-SCHAEFFER
PRODUCTION SOUND MIXER: SAM WATSON
SOUND DESIGNER & RE-RECORDING MIXER: KENT SPERLING
SUPERVISING SOUND EDITOR: JULIA SHIRAR
DISTRIBUTION MARKETING: STEVEN RAPHAEL
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: ANDREW ADAMSON, JOHN HAMMER, MARK JOHNSON, AIMEE SHIEH
PRODUCERS: LANCE HAMMER, NINA PARIKH
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: LOL CRAWLEY
WRITER-DIRECTOR-EDITOR: LANCE HAMMER
- Director supervised high-definition digital transfer from the 35mm interpositive.
- Ballast Scene Development, a 37-minute making-of feature charting the evolution of several scenes through the improvisational conflict sessions and two-month rehearsal process that gave form to the final film.
- Original theatrical trailer.
- Optional English, French and Spanish subtitles.
- A new essay by film critic Amy Taubin.
- Lance Hammer - Director
- Johnny McPhail - Actor
- Tarra Riggs - Actor
- Michael J. Smith, Sr. - Actor
- Jimmyron Ross - Actor
-- Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
-- Robert Koehler, Variety
“THE VERY LIFE OF LIFE...”
-- Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
-- Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
-- Wesley Morris, The Boston Globe
“REMARKABLE, UNFAILINGLY INTELLIGENT...”
-- Elena Oumano, The Village Voice
“POETIC & PROFOUND...”
-- Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
“A PERFECT FILM...”
-- Jeff Shannon, The Seattle Times
“A STUNNING PIECE OF WORK...”
-- David Fear, Time Out NY
“MYSTERIOUS, POETIC... WHOLLY ORIGINAL...”
-- Scott Foundas, LA Weekly
2008 Sundance Film Festival - Dramatic Directing Award
2008 Sundance Film Festival - Excellence in Cinematography Award