First Annual Barbara Hammer Lesbian Experimental Filmmaking Grant To Be Awarded

New grant supports self-identified lesbian filmmakers making visionary moving-image art.


Barbara Hammer


It's Hammer time! Time for lesbian representation, courtesy of Barbara Hammer.


Queer|Art, the New York City-based non-profit, will announce the first winner of The Barbara Hammer Lesbian Experimental Filmmaking Grant during a special edition of Queer|Art|Film, a long-running LGBTQ screening series at the IFC Center (323 Sixth Avenue at West 3rd St.) on December 4 at 8pm.


The Hammer Grant is an annual $5000 grant awarded to self-identified lesbians for making visionary moving-image art. The grant is supported directly by funds provided by Hammer and administered through Queer|Art by lesbians for lesbians, with a rotating panel of judges. The judges, who have been selected by Hammer to review applications for the first year of the grant, include legendary lesbian filmmakers Cheryl Dunye, Su Friedrich, and Dani Leventhal.


This special edition of Queer|Art|Film, entitled “The Hammer Mix,” presents an evening of short filmmakers who have inspired Hammer’s prolific career. Some of the avant-garde: Valie Export, Carolee Schneeman, and others.


Hammer writes, “As a young female filmmaker I looked for predecessors. And they were there with gorgeous work that taught and inspired me. These short films are timeless and can give both aspiring and accomplished filmmakers of today the same jolt of energy and investigative curiosity they did for me in the 70s. Let's enjoy together once again!”


This special edition of Queer|Art|Film has been curated by Hammer with Vanessa Haroutunian, Queer|Art Program Coordinator. Hammer and Martha Rosler will be in conversation with Haroutunian during the post-screening Q&A. Before the screening, judges Cheryl Dunye, Su Friedrich, and Dani Leventhal will announce and introduce the work of the winner of the Hammer Grant. 


Establishing a grant for lesbian experimental filmmakers, says Hammer, contributes to culture and visibility: “It has been the goal of my life to put a lesbian lifestyle on the screen. Why? Because when I started I couldn’t find any! ...I picked up a camera in the late 60s, made Super 8, 8mm, finally went to school and got a 16mm camera. Made 13 films in two and a half years. All experimental. Because I think that as a lesbian at that time I was living an experimental lifestyle...And I think that lesbian film really calls out for experimental work. ...Working as a lesbian filmmaker in the 70s wasn’t easy in the social structure — the educational institution that I was in. It was difficult. And I want this grant to make it easier for lesbians of today. So you can make work that you want to make.”


Filmmaker Barbara Hammer photographed by Vanessa Haroutunian


The grant will be awarded to benefit a specific project and funds may support work at any stage in development or production, from concept to completion. Qualifying work may be experimental animation, experimental documentary, experimental narrative, cross-genre, or solely experimental. Applicants must be based in the U.S. Prospective applicants for future application periods should review requirements on the Queer|Art website.


“The Hammer Mix” has been organized in conjunction with Leslie-Lohman’s retrospective exhibition “Barbara Hammer: Evidentiary Bodies” (October 7, 2017 - January 28, 2018). The exhibition brings together both known and previously unseen film and video, installations, works on paper, and material from Hammer’s archive. This exhibition will address themes that appear in Hammer’s work, including: lesbian representation, subjectivity and sexuality; intimacy and sensation; and life and illness.


For more information on the grant see below:

Twitter: @queerartnyc
Instagram: @queerart
Facebook: @queerartnyc​

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