Barbara Hammer
BornMay 15, 1939
BirthplaceHollywood, California, US
Occupationfilm director

Barbara Hammer (born May 15, 1939) is an American filmmaker in the genre of experimental films and a professor at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee.[1] Hammer is known for creating experimental films dealing with women's issues such as gender roles, lesbian relationships and coping with aging and family.


Hammer was born in Hollywood, California, becoming familiar with the film industry from a young age, as her grandfather worked as a cook for the American film director D. W. Griffith.[2] 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, in English literature and film. She took postgraduate classes in the field of digital media. In 2013, she was a Guggenheim Fellow.[3]

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. After leaving her marriage, she "took off on a motorcycle with a Super-8 camera" [2] and shot 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 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.[1]

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,[4] which addresses her personal history and her philosophies on art.[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Barbara Hammer Faculty page at European Graduate School (Accessed June 2, 2010)
  2. 2.0 2.1 DiFeliciantonio, Tina. "Barbara Hammer." Bomb 43 (Spring 1993).
  3. John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellows
  4. Hammer, Barbara (2010). HAMMER! Making Movies Out of Sex and Life. New York: The Feminist Press at CUNY. ISBN 978-1-55861-612-7. 
  5. Katterjohn, Anna (15 February 2010). "Filmic Herstory". Library Journal 135 (3): 29. ISSN 0363-0277. 

Further reading

  • Kleinhans, Chuck (2007). "Barbara Hammer: Lyrics and History", in Robin Blaetz: Women's Experimental Cinema. Duke University Press. 


  • Alexandra Juhasz, editor (2001). Women of Vision: Histories in Feminist Film and Video. University of Minnesota Press.

External links

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