The Gotham Independent Film Awards launches tonight at new digs Cipriani's (one might wonder if the famous Wall Street eatery is wanting of clients these days). Anyway, with indieWIRE's old interview with leading contender Lance Hammer up today, I felt like sharing some additional updates about the art-director-turned-auteur's must-see and much-missed debut "Ballast."
For a Variety preview on the Gothams published today ("Gotham Awards Go Back to Basics"), I caught up with Hammer as the film had just left New York screens. Not that anyone may have noticed, but I saw a couple weeks ago that "Ballast" popped up again at my neighborhood Brooklyn Heights theater, so rumors of the film's theatrical demise are, in fact, greatly exaggerated. If you go to http://ballastfilm.com/screenings , you'd also find upcoming screenings in everywhere from Omaha to Alberqueque to Seattle.
When we talked, Hammer seemed a little cynical about the film's box-office results, resigned to the sad truth that "there's a disconnection between critical acceptance and this huge world outside the festival sector," he told me. Many critics have gone to bat for the film, Sundance fully embraced the movie, and tonight, the Gothams will likely bestow further honors. But no matter what we, as an industry and as a press corps, do for a film, audiences won't necessarily pay up for it, it seems. But for Hammer, that's okay. "The Gothams are very meaningful, because they validated the project in a way that is important for its longevity," he told me. "This is what's important. The marketplace does not matter."