Barbara Hammer

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Barbara Hammer : biography

15 May 1939 –

Barbara Hammer (born May 15, 1939) is an American filmmaker in the genre of experimental films and a professor at European Graduate School in Saas-Fee. Faculty page at European Graduate School (Accessed June 2, 2010)

Partial Filmography

  • A Gay Day (1973)
  • Dyketactics (1974)
  • Lesbian Humor:Collection of short films" (1980–1987)
  • Nitrate Kisses (1992)
  • Tender Fictions (1996)
  • The Female Closet (1998)
  • Resisting Paradise (2003)
  • Love Other (2006)
  • Fucking Different New York (2007) (segment "Villa Serbolloni")
  • A Horse is not a Metaphor (2009) (Teddy Award)
  • Maya Deren’s Sink (2011)
  • Generations


Hammer was born in Hollywood, California. She is a graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology. She also holds two Master’s degrees from San Francisco State University, one in English literature and one in film. She also took postgraduate classes in the field of digital media.

In her early thirties, Hammer was married and teaching at a community college in Santa Rosa, California. Around this time she came out as a lesbian, after talking with another student in a Feminist group.

Hammer is known for creating groundbreaking experimental films dealing with women’s issues such as gender roles, lesbian relationships and coping with aging and family. Hammer is responsible for some of the first lesbian-made films in history, including Dyketactics (1974) and Women I Love (1976).

She received the first Shirley Clarke Avant-Garde Filmmaker Award in October 2006, the Women In Film Award from the St. Louis International Film Festival in 2006, and in 2009 Barbara Hammer received the Teddy Award for the best short film for her film ‘A Horse Is Not A Metaphor’ at The International Berlin Film Festival.

There have been two "re-makes" or "re-interpretations" of Hammer’s film Dyketactics:

  1. Untitled ( Dyketatics Revisited) (Liz Rosenfeld, 2005)
  2. Fagtactics (Scott Berry, 2002)

In 2010, Hammer published her autobiography, HAMMER! Making Movies Out of Sex and Life, which addresses her personal history and her philosophies on art.