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BALLAST – Sundance 2008

BALLAST (Director and Screenwriter: Lance Hammer)— A riveting, lyrical portrait of an emotionally frayed family whose lives are torn asunder by a tragic act in a small Mississippi Delta town. Cast: Michael J. Smith Sr., Jim Myron Ross, Tarra Riggs, Johnny McPhail. World Premiere
MANCORA/ Spain/Peru (Director: Ricardo de Montreuil; Screenwriter: Oscar Torres)– A young man mourning the death of his father sets out with his estranged stepsister and her arrogant husband for adventures in the lush, picturesque beach town of Máncora, Peru. World Premiere.

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2 Responses to “BALLAST – Sundance 2008”
  1. The Directing Award:

    Dramatic was presented to Lance Hammer for BALLAST, a riveting, lyrical portrait of an emotionally frayed family whose lives are torn asunder by a tragic act in a small Mississippi Delta town.

  2. Susan Norget says:

    BALLAST (Dramatic Competition) World Premiere
    Written and directed by Lance Hammer

    A powerful story of loss and resilience in the American south, Lance Hammer’s stunning debut feature evokes the visionary work of the Dardenne brothers, Terrence Malick, and David Gordon Green. In the cold, winter light of the rural Mississippi Delta, Marlee, a single African-American mother, struggles to scratch a living for herself and her 12-year-old son, James, who has begun to stumble under drug and violence pressures. So when the opportunity to seek safe harbor at a new home arises, she grabs it, even though the property is shared by Lawrence, a man with whom she has a long and bitter past. With circumstances thrusting them into proximity, a subtle interdependence and common purpose emerge for Marlee and Lawrence, as they tend to old wounds, test new waters, and tentatively move forward. BALLAST is one of those rare films that maximize the medium through an aesthetic of understatement. Every frame is deliberately and beautifully composed (shot on 35mm with only available light), every cut artfully and economically executed—not only to transmit a quietly gripping story but to reveal characters’ layered emotional experiences and the specific textures and sensations of their locales. Because it is grounded by three exquisitely nuanced performances, it’s not surprising that BALLAST is the product of an intensive collaboration with local non-actors organically connected to the material. First-time writer-director Hammer shows a remarkable sensitivity to the topography of human relationships and owns a lyrical, distinctively cinematic vision. Also selected for the upcoming Berlin Film Festival. No distributor. 96 mins.

    Sat. January 19, 11:30 am, Racquet Club
    Press screening: Sat. January 19, 7:30 pm, Yarrow II
    Sun. January 20, 6:00 pm, Tower Theatre, SLC
    Mon. January 21, 12:00 pm, Eccles Theatre
    Tues. January 22, 3:00 pm, Screening Room, Sundance Resort
    Thurs. January 24, 8:30 pm, Racquet Club
    Fri. January 25, 8:30 am, Racquet Club

    Attending: Writer-director Lance Hammer (Jan. 16-27), actors Michael J. Smith, Sr., Tarra Riggs and Johnny McPhail (18-25), and JimMyron Ross (18-21)

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