The New York–based nonprofit Queer|Art awarded Los Angeles–based artist and filmmaker Fair Brane as the winner of a new Barbara Hammer Lesbian Experimental Filmmaking Grant. The prize comes with $5,000 to be used to toward the completion of a film.
Selected from a pool of 76 applicants, Brane’s winning project, Drink More Water, is a short essay film that looks at the intersections of race and power as they apply to a retired intelligence officer in an unnamed beach town. Currently in post-production, the film is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
“Through my work, I aim to draw attention to hidden oppressive constructs rigorously at work in our society,” Brane said in a statement. “I am fascinated by the nexus that experimental and immersive film can provide.”
The award came out of conversations between Hammer and artist Ira Sachs, the founder and filmmaker of Queer|Art. The judges for the award this year were Cheryl Dunye, Su Friedrich, and Dani Restack (previously Leventhal).
Speaking about the panel’s selection of Brane, Queer|Art program coordinator Vanessa Haroutunian said, “Barbara Hammer is such a groundbreaking pioneer for experimental film, but there’s still a lot of territory that can be reckoned with. Fair Brane represents that as her work looks at the black experience as a woman in America.”
The grant money comes from funds provided by Hammer to support the work of U.S.-based self-identified lesbians. Hammer, who is 78, is currently the subject of a career retrospective at the Leslie-Lohman Museum in New York.
In a statement, Hammer said, “It has been the goal of my life to put a lesbian lifestyle on the screen. Why? Because when I started I couldn’t find any!” She continued: “Working as a lesbian filmmaker in the ’70s wasn’t easy in the social structures—the educational institution that I was in. It was difficult. And I want this grant to make it easier for lesbians of today. So you can make work that you want to make.”