Alexandr Hackenschmied

Alexandr Hackenschmied (17 December 1907, Linz – 26 July 2004, New York City) was a leading photographer and filmmaker in Czechoslovakia between the two world wars. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1938 and became involved in American avant-garde cinema. His film, Meshes of the Afternoon, which he made with filmmaker Maya Deren -- to whom he was married from 1942 to 1947—has become an icon of avant-garde cinema in the U.S. He changed his name to Alexander Hammid when he became a citizen of the United States in 1942. He is best known for his work in documentary film, both as a director, cameraman, and editor. According to Jaroslav Andel's biography of Hackenschmied, in 1930, Hackenschmied created his first film Bezúčelná procházka (Aimless Walk) which inaugurated the movement of avant-garde film in Czechoslovakia. The same year he also organized the Exhibition of New Czech Photography in the Aventinska Mansarda—a showcase for artists of the Aventinum publishing house in Prague -- and the first show of European avant-garde film in the Kotva Cinema, also in Prague.

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