Archive of films Ballast / Ballast

2008, 96 min

Section: Horizons
Year: 2008

As young James is scaring off a flock of birds in a vast field, the taciturn Lawrence tries to shoot himself. Without success. What will the trip home be like? The film was in competition at the Berlinale and at Sundance where it received the award for Best Director.


Young James is growing up with his mother Marlee, but she spends most of her time in her miserably paid job and the boy is left to his own devices. When he is drawn into the orbit of some local teenagers whom he helps with a drug run, the time comes for him to get closer to the melancholic Lawrence. In spite of his differences with Marlee, the reclusive Lawrence manages to put the youngster through the school of hard knocks that he needs. After all, as he knows himself, the worst path one can take is the one of least resistance. And when the future of a child is at stake, personal problems take second place. This subtle social drama is firmly anchored in the Mississippi Delta milieu where it was made with local non-professional actors, of which only the actress portraying Marlee has taken on other roles since her part in the film. The actual shooting was preceded by two months of auditions and changes in the screenplay. Andrew Adamson, the director behind The Chronicles of Narnia and the first two Shrek movies, and Mark Johnson, who won an Oscar for Rain Man, are the film’s co-producers.

About the director

Lance Hammer (b. 1967, Ventura, California) graduated in architecture from the University of Southern California and later worked in the art departments of Hollywood studios where he was involved in the Coen brothers’ The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001) among others. In 2004 he participated in the Berlinale Talent Campus where he presented his project The Imperfect Cell. Ballast is his feature screenwriting and directorial debut. Hammer also served as editor and producer for the film.


Celluloid Dreams
2, rue Turgot, 75009, Paris
Tel: +33 149 700 370
E-mail: [email protected], [email protected]

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Horizons
Director: Lance Hammer
Screenplay: Lance Hammer
Dir. of Photography: Lol Crawley
Editor: Lance Hammer
Producer: Lance Hammer, Nina Parikh
Production: Alluvial Film Company
Cast: Micheal J. Smith, Sr., JimMyron Ross, Tarra Riggs, Johnny McPhail, Ventress Bonner, Jimez Alexander, Jean Paul Guillory, Marcus Alexander, Marquice Alexander, Lawrence Jackson
Contact: Celluloid Dreams

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