Dykes, Camera, Action!

Dykes, Camera, Action!

Caroline Berler


»When I was growing up in Texas in the late 1990s, I didn’t know any openly homosexual people in my community. So for role models, I looked to films.«
– Caroline Berler

This film’s title encapsulates what it’s all about. Using material from relevant iconic films, Dykes, Camera, Action! relates the story of lesbian cinema. Until the 1970s, film roles for lesbian women were almost entirely absent. During the second wave of the women’s movement, feminist film-makers began to work on their own themes. The heteronormative visual idiom of mainstream cinema was rejected; instead, artists created new, experimental forms for the new motifs. Barbara Hammer was one of the pioneers of feminist lesbian avant-garde film when, in 1974, she explored lesbian identity and sexuality with her short film Dyketactics. By giving queer desire visibility in the media, she and her female collaborators opened up new possibilities of perception and scope for identification.
Caroline Berler meets the relevant protagonists of the lesbian US film scene: Barbara Hammer, Su Friedrich, Rose Troche, Cheryl Dunye, Yoruba Richen, Desiree Akhavan, Vicky Du, Ruby Rich, Jenni Olson, and others relate how they discovered and expressed queer identity in films. Berler’s study of the select few of – mostly unfortunate – lesbian characters in mainstream cinema reveals even more clearly the tremendous self-empowerment of these film women. (BS)

In cooperation with LAG Lesben in NRW.

Film Series New Archives

Director / Editing

Caroline Berler


Melanie McClean Brooks


Jenny Bee


Gisela Fulla-Silvestre


Gil Talmi


Barbara Hammer, Su Friedrich, Rose Troche, Cheryl Dunye, Yoruba Richen, Desiree Akhavan, Vicky Du, Ruby Rich, Jenni Olson


Rebecca Benson, Caroline Berler


The Film Collaborative

Caroline Berler

Caroline Berler is a documentary director and editor based in New York City. She has worked as an associate producer, assistant editor and sound recordist on non-fiction projects that have been broadcast nationally, screened in film festivals around the world and released theatrically. She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in social documentary film from the School of Visual Arts and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from New York University. Dykes, Camera, Action! is her directoral debut.