UCLA alum and pioneer filmmaker Barbara Hammer won the Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Nonfiction from the Publishing Triangle on April 28. Born in Hollywood, California, Hammer is an experimental film legend, who started addressing issues of gender roles and lesbian relationships in the 1970s.

Her autobiography, Hammer! Making Movies Out of Sex and Life, digs into her personal history and her philosophies on art.

The Publishing Triangle, based in New York City, is the premiere LGBT organization in the publishing industry that promotes gay and lesbian literature.

Hammer, according to her faculty biography at the European Graduate School, “introduced the first lesbian film to the world, Dyketatics,” in 1974 as an up-and-coming filmmaker.

She's credited with giving rise to queer cinema in the United States.

“I was lucky when I made Dyketactics,” says Hammer in an interview with BOMB magazine. “I didn't realize that it was the first lesbian film made by a lesbian. I would have been so afraid and intimidated. Instead, I just burst out and let my energy carry me through my work. In some ways being alone was great. There was a blank screen and I was filling it. That was a thrill. At the end of Dyketactics, I showed a vagina on the screen and this man screamed, AAAAAAAHHHH! All the women said, Haven't you seen that before?”

Hammer teaches a summer seminar at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, and lives in New York City.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.

LA Weekly