Ballast: Lance Hammer’s Film

Sony Classics will release “Ballast,” the 2008 Sundance award-winning indie for direction and cinematography, in the spring.


Lance Hammer on His Film:


There is an energetic resonance in the Delta that moves me, especially in winter. It has to do with the dignity of endurance in the face of sorrow. Being energetic in nature, language is inherently incapable of communicating the totality of the sensation. For many years I’ve had the desire to make a film that, at its core, is an attempt to convey some portion of this essentially tonal phenomenon. Because tone is inherently formless, I realized that some degree of narrative structure would be required–some poles to give form to an amorphous tent. My hope is that the narrative has remained minimal and unobtrusive. I hope that is has served to convey the sense of sorrow that envelops this beautiful and complicated place.


“Ballast” is a product of intensive collaboration with non-professional actors. With one exception, all characters are portrayed by residents of the Delta townships where the scenes were recorded and have no prior film acting experience. Though a script was created, it was not distributed. Scenario was discussed, then given form, in the course of a two-month rehearsal process. Actors contributed their own language to the rehearsals, dialogue evolved as the result.


All imagery was photographed in existing locations with available light on 35mm film.


Lance Hammer served as writer, director, editor, and producer was born in 1967 in Ventura, California. Hammer graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in Architecture and worked as an art director in the studio film system. He resides in Los Angeles.  Ballast is his first feature as a writer and director.


Lol Crawley, director of photography, was born in 1974 and lives in Newscastle, England. Since graduating from university in 1997, Lol has worked extensively in the camera department of the UK film and television industries, working on a wide variety of productions ranging from commercials, to network dramas and feature films.


His first significant work as a DP was the acclaimed short film Field (2001), directed by Duane Hopkins. The film won ten awards on the international film festival circuit including the Gold Hugo at Chicago and Best International Short Film at Hamburg. Following this success, Lol worked on the Film Four/British Film Council funded short Love Me or Leave Me Alone (2003), which won a further nine awards, including Best British Short Film at Edinburgh 2003.


He has since worked as a cinematographer on a variety of formats and productions ranging from DV cam documentaries to 35mm feature films. His latest film, the UKFC/Film Four feature Better Things, directed by Duane Hopkins, will be released in 2009. Ballast is his first feature as cinematographer.