Barbara Hammer holds a special place in the annals of queer cinema, having been making experiment lesbian films since the 1970s – a time when lesbian films made by a lesbian were vanishingly rare. As she notes of her life back then and why she turned to experimental filmmakeing, “I think as a lesbian at that time, I was living an experimental lifestyle. Well let’s just say, I was experimenting, and I still am.”
She adds that, “Lesbian film really calls out for experimental work,” because, “working as a lesbian filmmaker in the ’70s wasn’t easy in the social structure [or] educational institution I was in.”
Now though the A Horse Is Not a Metaphor and Nitrate Kisses director is paying it forward, as she’s teamed with NYC-based non-profit Queer | Art to create an annual $5,000 grant for lesbian experimental filmmakers. The grant will be handed out by a rotating panel of judges.
As Out notes, ‘The Barbara Hammer Lesbian Experimental Filmmaking Grant is application-based and will be awarded to benefit projects in any stage of development, from concept to exhibition. Animation, documentary, narrative, cross-genre will all be considered, as long as they fall within the experimental genre. Applications for the first year will be open August 1 through September 30, and the winner will be awarded on December 4 by judges including filmmakers Cheryl Dunye and Dani Leventhal.’
“I want this grant to make it easier for lesbians of today,” Hammer says. “So you can make work that you want to make.”