top of page


Director: Lance Hammer

Writer: Lance Hammer

CastMicheal J. Smith, 

JimMyron Ross, Tarra Riggs, 

Johnny McPhail 

Duration: 1h 36min

Language: English

Country: USA

Cert: 15

Year: 2008

A double prize winner at Sundance Film Festival, and multiple awards internationally, BALLAST is one of the most acclaimed American independent films of recent years, 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 is paralyzed with grief after the loss of his twin brother. Twelve-year-old James drifts into the perilous orbit of local teenagers, while his single mother, Marlee, is too exhausted from her menial job to interpret the clues.


When sudden violence forces mother and son to leave their home in the middle of the night, they desperately flee to Lawrence’s property. Though this provides a safe harbor, it quickly rekindles the fury of a bitter, longstanding conflict between them.


Writer-director Lance Hammer, together with British Cinematographer Lol Crawley (Four Lions, 45 Years) and a 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.

Watch Now
Play Video
Directing Award
Cinematography Award
Sundance Film Festival 2008
Breakthrough Director
Gotham Awards 2008
Berlin Film Festival 2008

Philip French, The Observer
★★★★ The Independent

“perfect” ★★★★ 
Financial Times
“bold, dark, honest”
Time Out
“beautiful... this is what slice-of-life cinema should look and feel like” ★★★★ Empire
★★★★ Daily Telegraph
“a startlingly assured, pitch perfect first feature”
The New York Times
bottom of page