Do-it-yourself filmmakers will be keeping a close eye on New York’s Film Forum this week as Lance Hammer opens his Sundance winner “Ballast.”
The writer-director caused waves earlier this year when he pulled his pic from IFC Films, deciding he could do better on his own.
“A part of me is very excited. I see no division between writing, producing and releasing,” says Hammer, who also designed the film’s poster, trailer and ad slicks himself.
“What is a distribution company?” he continues. “There’s not that many people doing the work. If I could match IFC’s P&A and find good people, there’s no reason why we couldn’t do just as well.”
Though Hammer’s move is a gamble, he’s actually in good company this year. Another Sundance alum that went it alone, Randall Miller‘s “Bottle Shock,” is doing well, posting nearly $4 million in grosses since bowing Aug. 6. Not satisfied with the offers they were getting, that pic’s producers hired Freestyle Releasing to do the heavy lifting.
Now, thanks to New York’s Independent Feature Project, the Oct. 3 screening of “Ballast” is already sold out. IFP’s “First Weekend” program guarantees soldout shows for self-distributing filmmakers by buying out the theater. The org then sells $25 tickets to a screening “event” that includes a conversation and after-party hosted by a personality. Tony Award winner Sarah Jones will do the honors for “Ballast.”
“I’m very keen on distribution now,” says Hammer, noting that he plans to stay with this model for his next project. ” ‘Ballast’ is a rehearsal for something larger.”