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Ballast images courtesy of Lance Hammer

Lance Hammer, 2008


Andrew Bujalski, 2009

21st-Century Independents

After a period of creative dormancy, the once-vital American independent cinema has experienced a resurgence in the past decade. Even though the budgets might be small-to-nonexistent and the names unfamiliar (for now), exciting new artists from all corners of this country have found innovative ways to tell stories we haven’t heard yet and introduce us to people that we’ve never seen on screen before. This series, organized by Associate Curator Chris Stults, offers the Columbus theatrical premieres of some of the best new and recent truly independent films.

Contemporary Screen

Films fresh from the international film festival circuit, area premieres, award winners, and recent audience favorites.... You'll find films you won't see anywhere else in central Ohio on the Contemporary Screen schedule.

Thu, Mar 24, 2011 7 PM

"I always say I hardly ever cry at sad films, but I sometimes do, just a little, at films about good people."—Roger Ebert on Ballast

Among the most critically praised independent films of recent years, Ballast tells the powerful, gentle tale of a single mother in the Mississippi Delta—one of the poorest regions in the country—struggling to provide for herself and her son. A sudden act of violence forces her to rely on the brother-in-law she's always been wary of while she forges a new life for her family. The New York Times astutely noticed what a watershed film Ballast is, calling it "a serious accomplishment and a welcome sign of a newly invigorated American independent cinema." (96 mins., 35mm)

Beeswax is a marvelous recent film by Andrew Bujalski (Funny Ha Ha, Mutual Appreciation), one of today's leading independent filmmakers. The story revolves around the personal and professional entanglements of twin sisters Jeanne and Lauren (played by extraordinary newcomers Tilly and Maggie Hatcher). Complications arise when the co-owner of Jeanne's candy-colored vintage clothing store threatens a lawsuit and everyone tries to lend some advice. A charming and intimate portrait of a generation trying to find its way, Beeswax is an acutely observed film about how we depend on our families—the kind we’re stuck with and the kind we build for ourselves. (100 mins., 35mm)

Beeswax begins at 8:45 pm.