OCMA screens Sundance-winning film about rural Mississippi 

Filmed in rural Mississippi, "Ballast" details the lives of a family coping with suicide and poverty.

The feature-length debut from director Lance Hammer won awards for direction and cinematography at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival and has been nominated for six Independent Spirit Awards.

The film screens 7:30 p.m. Thursday, and 5:30 and 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch.

Brian Hearn, museum film curator, said "Ballast" has an all-black cast of non-professional actors and was a "breakout" success at Sundance that garnered critical and audience acclaim across the board.

"It's one of the first all-African-American casts that depicts that spectrum of life," Hearn said. "They just don't make a lot of movies about poor, rural blacks in Mississippi."

He said the independent film deals with "serious" themes of suicide and family, and ends ambiguously rather than neatly tying together the lives of the characters. He said the picture has been highly regarded for its "poetic" visual appeal and cinematography.

Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for seniors and students. For more information, call 278-8237.

"Joe Wertz

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