USA, 2007, 96 min
Director: Lance Hammer
Casts: Michael J. Smith, Jim Myron Ross, Tarra Riggs, Johnny McPhai
Selection: international, competitive
Awards: the winning movie of Sundance Festival 2008
Visitors of Cinema City Festival are going to have a chance to see a projection of Ballast, an American drama directed by Lance Hammer, the winner of this tear Sundance Festival. This was confirmed by the producers and the organizers of the festival. The movie is to be shown within international selection.
The story line of the movie made in 2007 takes place in a rural area of a city district of Mississippi Delta, where static lives of three characters is completely changed by a suicide. A self-supporting mother, Marlee, fights to secure basic necessities for herself and her twelve-year-old son, James. The circumstances are worsen by the fact that the underage boy has been falling under the influence of drugs and violence. The moment a chance to reach security in their new home arises, Marlee reacts – despite the fact she has to share the property with Lawrence, a man she has been in dispute since James’s birth.
Delicate interdependence and common goals emerge before Marlee and Lawrence, and while they deal with their life problems and test new circumstances, they gradually make steps forward.
Ballast is one of rare movies that, through the esthetic of the insufficiently shown, managed to bring the average to perfection. Each fragment of the movie has been exquisitely thought of and fit, each cut has been made artistically and precisely – not only to tell the story that steadily overcomes, but to successfully express the characters overwhelmed by bad emotional experiences and specific local atmosphere. Bearing in mind that the cast is made of three exceptional performers, it is important to say that Ballast is a result of cooperation with local unprofessional actors, the population of Mississippi Delta County, which contributes to the realism of local atmosphere.
Lance Hammer, for the first time in the role of director, has managed to make a characteristic and authentic expression with high sense for depicting social relations. Hammer graduated architecture at the University of California. Ballast is his first finalized movie.