Above: A Sense of Place, or après moi, le déluge (2008) still by Desireena Almoradie, image courtesy of the artist.

QUEER|ART AWARDS FIFTH ANNUAL BARBARA HAMMER LESBIAN EXPERIMENTAL FILMMAKING GRANT

DESIREENA ALMORADIE AND BARBARA MALARAN HONORED AS WINNERS; FOUR FINALISTS RECOGNIZED

Queer|Art, New York City’s home for the creative and professional development of LGBTQ+ artists, is excited to announce the winner of the 2021 Barbara Hammer Lesbian Experimental Filmmaking Grant, collaborative duo, Desireena Almoradie and Barbara Malaran. The New York City-based duo will receive a $7,000 cash grant, as well as studio visits with members of the judges panel in support of their creative and professional development.

Almoradie and Malaran were selected among 108 applicants who applied for the Hammer Grant in its fifth year, winning for a project currently titled Untitled Kilawin Documentary. Set in the 1990s, against the backdrop of fierce patriarchy, racism, and lesbophobia, the film documents the revolutionary convergence of lesbian Filipinas who gathered for the first time in New York City to establish a loving, safe, and affirming community. 

The Barbara Hammer Lesbian Experimental Filmmaking Grant is an annual grant awarded to self-identified lesbians for making visionary moving-image art. The grant is supported directly by funds provided by the estate of legendary lesbian experimental filmmaker Barbara Hammer (1939-2019), and administered through Queer|Art by lesbians for lesbians, with a rotating panel of judges. This year’s judges included Amber Bemak, Suzy Halajian, and Aily Tanaka Nash.

About Desireena Almoradie and Barbara Malaran, Winners

Desireena Almoradie (she/they) emigrated from Manila, Philippines at the age of eleven, settling in the borough of Queens, New York with her family. Her works explore collective history with a focus on queer and/or POC lives. She was nominated for an Emmy and has won a GLAAD Media Award for her work on In the Life, the seminal LGBT newsmagazine that aired on PBS for two decades. She co-founded the Diverse Filmmaker’s Alliance (DFA), a collective of filmmakers from all backgrounds working to diversify the filmmaking landscape. Most recently Desireena was awarded a New York State Council on the Arts grant for her experimental documentary Untitled Kilawin Doc, a collaboration with Barbara Malaran. 

Barbara Malaran (they/them) is a media maker and musician who traverses between past and present in order to locate personal ties. They re-imagine homelands and gender identities in an effort to reconfigure time and prevent memory decay. They were a member of the core group of Kilawin Kolektibo, a Pinay lesbian collective, and spent their formative years in NYC learning the craft of filmmaking by documenting Kilawin Kolektibo’s many actions at marches, protests, and celebrations. Barbara currently lives in Portland, OR. 

Almoradie and Malaran were awarded the Hammer Grant for their forthcoming film, Untitled Kilawin Doc. This film will trace the history of Kilawin Kolektibo, a pioneering collective of lesbian and queer brown women who came together in NYC in the mid-nineties. Culling from a treasure trove of over 25 years worth of historic documentation, the film will tell the story of queer Filipinxs who were searching for a community–a place where they could not only be open about their sexuality but also about their Filipinx culture. 

The collaborative duo notes that as filmmaking members of Kilawin Kolektibo back in the 90’s and early 2000’s, they drew inspiration from Barbara Hammer’s playful and irreverent films and were encouraged by her warm and open personality. Malaran was Hammer’s student at the Media Studies Program of the New School, and now many years later, the duo states, “it feels so appropriate and we are so very grateful to be receiving the Barbara Hammer Grant for Lesbian Experimental Filmmaking. The grant will allow us to devote much needed time to concentrate on bringing our experimental documentary to a fine cut.

I am so excited to see this film,” remarks 2021 Hammer Grant judge Amber Bemak. Bemak noted that the duo was the clear winner of the Barbara Hammer grant: “the project is an important part of queer history which will be executed in a aesthetically and formally innovative way.” “We were all very impressed with Desireena and Barbara’s critical, research-based project,” exclaims 2021 Hammer Grant judge, Suzy Halajian. “We look forward to seeing the collective history on Kilawin Kolektibo developed and put out in the world!”

In addition to Almoradie and Malaran, three other filmmakers were acknowledged as finalists for this year in addition to one collective—Naima Lowe, Abigail Collins, Helen Peña, and the Steph Christ Collective which includes Mitra Kaboli, Tyler Morse, Nia Nottage and Rider Alsop. 

About Naima Lowe, Finalist 

Born in 1979 Middletown, CT USA Naima Lowe is a writer, artist and filmmaker who utilizes the alchemical magic of African-American, queer and disabled world making. She makes her living at the intersections of bold political statements and opaque formalist exploration. She earned her BA from Brown University and MFA from Temple University and has exhibited at Anthology Film Archive, Wing Luke Museum, MiX Experimental Film Festival, and was a featured artist in CONCEPT, Oklahoma’s Triennial Contemporary Art Exhibition, and Art 365 a year long juried program offering contemporary Oklahoma artists time to develop ambitious new work with alongside a nationally recognized curator. Naima has been an artist in residence at Millay Colony, Vermont Studio Center, Jack Straw Cultural Center and the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art.

About Abigail Collins, Finalist 

Abigail Raphael Collins is an interdisciplinary artist using experimental documentary and video installation to consider relationships between intergenerational transmission and sound through a queer feminist lens. Recent exhibitions have been at the Johnson Museum of Art, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Pasadena Armory, Marathon Screenings, Angels Gate Cultural Center, PØST, and Torrance Art Museum. She received a BFA from Cooper Union, a MFA from UCLA, and is the recipient of an FCA Emergency grant, Toby Devan Lewis Fellowship, UCIRA grant, and is a former resident at Seoul Art Space Geumcheon and Shandaken Projects.

About Helen Peña, Finalist

Helen Peña is a Dominican-American daughter of the Atlantic, filmmaker and community organizer from Miami, FL. She uses filmmaking and video art to tell the stories of poor and dispossessed, Black and brown women. In 2017, Helen co-founded (F)empower, a collective of queer feminist artist-activists, where she co-led a bail fund, a community garden, a queer Caribbean diasporic party, and more. For 2 years, Helen worked in Digital Communications for racial justice organization, the Dream Defenders. While there, she used digital art to breathe life into community organizing campaigns. In 2020, Helen participated in the UCLA Luskin Institute’s Sanctuary Spaces Residency, where she worked on her first short film, When Angels Speak of Love, a ritual portrait of a formerly incarcerated Black queer woman.

About Steph Christ Collective, Finalist 

steph christ is a collective of faggot video artists, archivists, poets, sound artists, visual artists, and art workers who make things together. both pronoun and proper noun, it is a collective repository that assigns credit to the collective, though it may contain different members at different times.

steph christ has shown work at the poetry project marathon 2022, the anchoress syndicate’s “my smutty valentine” 2020 & 2021, the millenium film workshop 2021, crush reading series #7 and the knockdown center’s sunday service 2019; and has done projects and fellowships with artists space, the performa 2021 biennial, performance space and the kitchen. www.stephs.net

About Barbara Hammer

Barbara Hammer (1939-2019) began making films in the 1970s. She is most well-known for making the first explicit lesbian film in 1974, Dyketactics, and for her trilogy of documentary film essays on queer history: Nitrate Kisses (1992), Tender Fictions (1995), and History Lessons (2000). Her cinema is multi-leveled and engages audiences viscerally and intellectually with the goal of activating them to make social change, often through an exploration of the materiality of the filmmaking process and its relationship to the body’s potential as subject, form, author, and screen. She has been honored with seven retrospectives, including a 2019 exhibition at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio. Previous retrospectives took place at The Museum of Modern Art in New York City, Tate Modern in London, Jeu de Paume in Paris, the Toronto International Film Festival, Kunsthalle Oslo in Norway, and The Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York City. Her book, Hammer! Making Movies Out of Sex and Life was published in 2010 by The Feminist Press at The City University of New York.

About the 2021 Judges 

Amber Bemak currently lives in Dallas, Texas after three years spent living in Mexico City after seven years living as a traveling filmmaker between India and Nepal. She is a filmmaker, artist, and educator whose work is based in experimental and documentary film. For the past two decades, she has been engaged in a multi-layered exploration of performance and film which uses the body as a sight for socio-political inquiry, engages with text, language, and translation to open up discourse around deeply embedded colonization narratives, and commits to linking the intimate and personal with larger institutional structures. Her work has been seen at venues including the Brooklyn Museum, the Rubin Museum of Art, SculptureCenter, the Schwules Museum, and the Tamayo Museum. Festivals include Oberhausen, BAM cinemafest, Sheffield Docfest, Ann Arbor, DocLisboa, Morelia, and the European Media Art Festival. She has taught film theory and practice in India, Nepal, Kenya, Mexico, and the United States. 

Suzy Halajian is an independent curator, writer, and researcher based in Los Angeles. Her work begins at the intersection of art and politics, treating image making as steeped in colonial pasts and modern surveillance states with a focus on the Middle East, North Africa and their diaspora. She has recently curated exhibitions and programs at LACE, ONE Archives at the USC Libraries, Hammer Museum, Human Resources, Los Angeles Contemporary Archive (all Los Angeles); Disjecta, Portland; Sursock Museum, Beirut; and UKS, Oslo. Halajian is Associate Curator at Kunstverein Amsterdam and serves on the Programming Committee of Human Resources Los Angeles. She has written for numerous publications and is currently co-editor of Georgia journal which she co-founded with Anthony Carfello and Shoghig Halajian. Halajian holds an MA in Curatorial Studies from Bard College, New York, and is currently a doctorate student in the Film and Digital Media program at the University of California, Santa Cruz. 

Aily Tanaka Nash is a curator and educator based in New York. She is a programmer at the New York Film Festival, where she co-curated the Projections section from 2014–2019, and is currently head of short films and on the selection committee for the Currents section. She is a program advisor to the International Film Festival Rotterdam’s Short Film section. She served as a Biennial advisor and co-curator of the film program for the 2017 Whitney Biennial, and was Head of Programming for the 2018 Images Festival in Toronto. She curated the Basilica Screenings series at Basilica Hudson of Music (New York), Anthology Film Archives (New York), SAIC’s Sullivan Galleries (Chicago), REDCAT (Los Angeles), Institute of Contemporary Art (London), Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art (Helsinki), Tabakalera Centre for Contemporary Culture (San Sebastian), Doc’s Kingdom (Portugal), FACT (Liverpool), Tokyo Photographic Art Museum (Tokyo), Ghost:2561 (Bangkok) and others. In 2015, she was awarded a Curatorial Fellowship from the Andy Warhol Foundation. In 2018, she had a MOBIUS Curatorial Fellowship with the Finnish Cultural Institute New York, and commissioned new works by artists James N. Kienitz Wilkins and Lucy Raven in partnership with PUBLICS and Heureka, Finnish Science Center. She has taught at CalArts, Dartmouth, Bard Microcollege, and Cooper Union. 

About Queer|Art

Queer|Art was born out of the recognition of a generation of artists and audiences lost to the ongoing AIDS Crisis, and in a profound understanding that one of the many repercussions of that loss has been a lack of mentors and role models for a new generation of LGBTQ+ artists. Founded in 2009 by filmmaker Ira Sachs, Queer|Art serves as a ballast against this loss and seeks to highlight and address a continuing fundamental lack of both economic and institutional support for LGBTQ+ artists. Our mission is to provide individuals within our community with the tools, resources, and guidance they need to achieve success and visibility for their work at the highest levels of their field. 

The current programs of Queer|Art include: the year-long Queer|Art|Mentorship program; the long-running Queer|Art|Film series, held monthly at the IFC Center in lower Manhattan; and Queer|Art|Awards, an initiative of grants, prizes, and awards that provides various kinds of direct support—monetary and otherwise—to LGBTQ+ artists.

A list of the intergenerational community of artists supported and brought together by Queer|Art includes: Silas Howard, Jennie Livingston, Matt Wolf, Hilton Als, Sarah Schulman, Pamela Sneed, Justin Vivian Bond, Jibz Cameron, Trajal Harrell, John Kelly, Geoffrey Chadsey, Everett Quinton, Geo Wyeth, Angela Dufresne, Nicole Eisenman, Avram Finkelstein, Chitra Ganesh, Pati Hertling, Jonathan Katz, Tourmaline & Sasha Wortzel, Jess Barbagallo, Morgan Bassichis, Monstah Black, Yve Laris Cohen, Troy Michie, Tommy Pico, Justin Sayre, Colin Self, Jacolby Satterwhite, Rick Herron, and Hugh Ryan, among many others.

Website: www.queer-art.org

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