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Learn more about Ballast (Blu-ray):

Format: Blu-Ray DVD
Sku: 212358761
UPC: 738329067120
UPC 14: 00738329067120
Category Keywords: Drugs  Independent  Poverty  Theatrical Release
See more in Drama
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 (Jim Myron 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. Actors: Micheal J. Smith JimMyron Ross Tarra Riggs Johnny McPhail. Directors: Lance Hammer. Format: AC-3 Anamorphic Color Dolby NTSC Subtitled Surround Sound Widescreen. Language: English. Subtitles: French Spanish. Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only.). Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1. Number of discs: 1. Rated: Unrated. Studio: KINO INTERNATIONAL. Release Date: November 10 2009. Run Time: 96 minutes.
Editor's Note
Winner of numerous prizes at prestigious film festivals all around the world, including Sundance, San Francisco, and Buenos Aires, BALLAST is a stunning, emotionally powerful feature-film debut from Lance Hammer, who wrote, directed, and edited the film and served as one of the producers. After his brother commits suicide, Lawrence (Michael J. Smith Sr.) stops going to work at his convenience store, instead just sitting alone at home, staring straight ahead at the television, like a zombie. When his 12-year-old nephew, James (JimMyron Ross), pulls a gun on him and demands money, Lawrence barely reacts, not caring about anything. James needs the money to pay off the local drug dealers for the crack he has been smoking. Meanwhile, James's mother, Marlee (Tarra Riggs), is scrubbing toilets to earn whatever she can to afford food and clothing for her son. But when Marla finds out that her son's life is in danger, they run away to stay with Lawrence, triggering long-held memories and problems that slowly boil to the surface. BALLAST is set in the Mississippi Delta, shot on location with nonprofessional actors who live in the region. Although there was a script, the dialogue was mostly improvised, and Hammer uses only natural sound and light, heightening the reality of the hard lives these people lead. Director of photography Lol Crawley often creates beautiful exterior landscapes that offer hope for the main characters, juxtaposing them with interior shots that find them contained in small places, trapped in their situation. BALLAST is a bold, brutal work, filled with pain and honesty, violence and warmth, offering no easy answers.


Video Features English, French, Spanish, Subtitled

Technical Info

Release Information
Video Mfg Name Studio: Kino Video
Video Release Date Release Date: 11/10/2009
Video Play Time Running Time: 96 minutes
Video Release Year Original Release Date: 2008
Video UPC UPC: 00738329067120
Video Number of Discs Number of Discs: 1

Audio & Video
Video Audio Spec Available Audio Tracks:
Video Color Spec Video: Color

Cast & Crew

Video Cast Info Ventress Bonner
Video Cast Info Zachary Coleman
Video Cast Info Jimez Alexander
Video Cast Info Johnny McPhail
Video Cast Info Dr. Sanjib Shrestha
Video Cast Info Michael J. Smith Sr.
Video Cast Info Rafe D. Simpson
Video Cast Info Tarra Riggs
Video Cast Info JimMyron Ross
Video Cast Info Aimee Shieh - Executive Producer
Video Cast Info Lance Hammer - Screenwriter
Video Cast Info Lance Hammer - Editor
Video Cast Info Mark Johnson - Executive Producer
Video Cast Info Andrew Adamson - Executive Producer
Video Cast Info Lol Crawley - Director of Photography
Video Cast Info Lance Hammer - Producer
Video Cast Info Nina Parikh - Producer
Video Cast Info Lance Hammer - Director

Professional Reviews

Box Office
4 stars out of 5 -- "Hammer's script is spare and pertinent, without a wasted syllable, giving his characters believable voices against the bleak and gray canvas of the Delta farmlands, stunningly photographed by Lol Crawley." 08/01/2008 p.45

New York Times
"[An] austerely elegant, emotionally unadorned riff on life and death in the Mississippi Delta....It's a serious achievement and a welcome sign of an newly invigorated American independent cinema." 10/01/2008

Entertainment Weekly
"BALLAST has images of pristine spareness that keep leaping forward....As the movie comes into focus, you feel the lives of the characters echoing backward through time." -- Grade: A- 10/10/2008 p.53

"In Lance Hammer's BALLAST, the director takes a page from the Terrence Malick playbook and constructs a poetic narrative out of bleak landscapes and majestic drama....The result is an exhilarating narrative." 10/03/2008

Los Angeles Times
"BALLAST has the heft and substance its name implies....this austere, rigorous film has a sense of place, a feeling for reality so compelling it makes us feel like we're living it, not just watching on a screen." 11/07/2008

Chicago Sun-Times
"The film has a bedrock reality that could not be fabricated. It was filmed on locations in the Mississippi Delta, and uses actors who had never acted before, but who never step wrong. Few professional actors could convince us so deeply." 11/05/2008

Sight and Sound
"Hammer favours an air of mystery....A film whose craft and determined individuality achieve an intermittent bleak soulfulness..." 04/01/2011

Total Film
4 stars out of 5 -- "Powerful, semi-improvised performances brings us closer to the isolated characters, who movingly earn themselves the possibility of redemption." 05/01/2011

Product Attributes

Product attributeActor:   Hammer,Lance D.
Product attributeLabel:   Kino International
Product attributeMusic Format:   Blu-ray DVD
Product attributeVideo Format:   DVD
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