October 14, 1937 |
Los Angeles, California, United States
His early credits include the documentaries Beyond This Winter's Wheat (1965) and Harvest (1967), which he made for the U.S. Information Agency. The latter was nominated for an Academy Award. He also directed a short subject called The Perils of Priscilla (1969), which was filmed from the point of view of a cat. Rodeo (1970) provided an intimate look at the 1968 National Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City. He was second unit director on Star Wars (1977), for which he handled many of the outdoor desert scenes.
Ballard finally got the chance to make a feature film when Coppola offered him the job of directing The Black Stallion (1979), an adaptation of the children's book by Walter Farley. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards, including Best Supporting Actor (Mickey Rooney). In 2002 the Library of Congress added it to the National Film Registry.
Most of Ballard's films deal with man and his relation to nature and have a strong poetic streak. Film critic Kenneth Turan once wrote:
"[Ballard] knows how to be both caring and restrained, minimizing a movie's saccharine content while maximizing the sense of wonder."
- The Black Stallion (1979)
- Never Cry Wolf (1983)
- Nutcracker: The Motion Picture (1986)
- Wind (1992)
- Fly Away Home (1996)
- Duma (2005)
- McCarthy, Todd (October 24, 2011). "New York Film Festival Wrap: Special Events, Fortuitous Encounters and Spontaneous Combustion". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Foundas, Scott (September 1, 2011). "The Natural". The Watch.
- Schumacher, Michael (1999). Francis Ford Coppola: a filmmaker's life. Three Rivers Press, ISBN 0-609-80677-7, p. 237-238.
- Holloway, Ronald (August 31, 1983). "Variety Reviews - Never Cry Wolf". Variety.
- Dargis, Manohla (September 30, 2005). "Inching Toward Adulthood With a Cheetah for a Friend". The New York Times.
- Turan, Kenneth (2004). Never coming to a theater near you: a celebration of a certain kind of movie. New York: Public Affairs. ISBN 1-58648-231-9.