Alexander (Sasha) Hammid 1907-2004


Alexander (Sasha) Hammid (born Hackenschmied) (1907-2004) was one of the avant-garde and documentary cinemaís pioneers. Before immigrating to the United States from Czechoslovakia, Hammid was a major figure in the Czech Avant-Garde. He wrote numerous articles in various film and arts publications on film as an art form. Hammid also began making his first films in Czechoslovakia and was an early promoter of avant-garde film screenings. He escaped Czechoslovakia when the Nazis came to power, smuggling out film footage of Nazi forces.

After arriving in the United States, Hammid began collaborating with documentary filmmaker, Herbert Kline on several films. He is perhaps best known for his work with his then wife, Maya Deren. Their first film together, Meshes of the Afternoon, is considered one of the most important American independent films. Around this time, Hammid was also making films for the U.S. Office of War Information, these included Toscanini: Hymn of the Nations and A Better Tomorrow. Working with Francis Thompson, Hammid was an early pioneer of multi-screen and IMAX film formats.

In memory of Alexander Hammid, Logos has republished two of Hammidís early articles on film and a newly written piece by Hammidís close friend Jonas Mekas. Although written over seventy years ago, Hammidís two articles address problems that are still current. They reveal his prescience and insightfulness as a film critic and theorist.