This debut feature from acclaimed lesbian filmmaker Barbara Hammer is at once an experimental excavation of queer histories, a celebration of difference across communities and a lamentation for histories lost to cultural repression. In this poetic, beautiful and, at times, shocking collage, powerful testimonies from different segments of queer culture reclaim memories from "the dark ages" — a time before gay representation in mainstream culture — where memories of grasping for morsels of queerness demonstrate the privilege of seeing gayness, in both love and sex, and its necessity as a method of cultural preservation. Poetic, profound and careful filmmaking, NITRATE KISSES is a landmark film in the queer canon. A new 16mm print courtesy of the Academy Film Archive screens at AFI FEST as a part of the retrospective Barbara Hammer, Superdyke, a series in collaboration with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the UCLA Film & Television Archive. – Malin Kan
Barbara Hammer was born on May 15, 1939, in Hollywood, California. She is a visual artist working primarily in film and video. She has made over 80 moving image works in a career that spans 40 years. She is considered a pioneer of queer cinema.