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Ballast

Lance Hammer
USA 2008 / 96’

The Mississippi delta in winter provides the backdrop for this socially realistic drama from the USA’s south. Twelve-year-old James lives here with his mother, Marlee, who has to work hard to eke out an existence for the two of them. While his mother spends many hours a day working in a badly paid job, James is left to his own devices. As he wanders about the neighbourhood he gets to know a group of teenagers. Seeking to impress them, he agrees to use his motorbike to occasionally transport drugs for them – an offer greatly appreciated by his new friends. But when James is in danger of becoming the victim of an act of violence perpetrated by his buddies, Marlee runs away with her son.

Berlin IFF 2008

Ballast is one of those rare films that maximize the medium through an aesthetic of understatement. Every frame is deliberately and beautifully composed, every cut artfully and economically executed. Because Ballast is the product of intensive collaboration with local nonactors organically connected to the material. First-time director Lance Hammer is a distinctive voice with a remarkable sensitivity to the topography of human relationships and a powerfully cinematic social-realist vision.

Sundance FF 2008

Lance Hammer was born in California in 1967. He graduated in architecture from the University of Southern California before working as an Art Director for various film studios. He was a participant of the 2004 Berlinale Talent Campus, where he pitched his film project The Imperfect Cell. Ballast is his first feature length drama.

Filmography:

2002 Issaquena (kr.m. / short)

2008 Ballast