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ONLINE ONLY: Interview with Lance Hammer

Lance Hammer, Ballast, 2008, color film in 35 mm, 96 minutes. Production still. Lawrence (Michael J. Smith Sr.). Photo: Lol Crawley.

Director Lance Hammer’s debut feature film, Ballast, won awards for dramatic directing and excellence in cinematography at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. It opens on October 1 at Film Forum in New York and on October 17 in selected theaters nationwide.

Prior to making Ballast, I wrote another feature script that was called Alluvial. It was a Delta story as well, and my first attempt to write a story in the place I had grown to love. I shot short scenes excerpted from the script in order to raise financing, and that loosely cohesive presentation was akin to a short. It taught me two things. First, that Alluvial was not the story I wanted to tell. I loved the Delta region so much that I tried to speak with too much specificity about the place; the work proved to be too obvious for my taste. The second lesson was technical—I received my education as a filmmaker working on Alluvial

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