Maya Deren b. April 29, 1917 d. October 13, 1961
Deren was a Ukranian born Russian-American avant-garde filmmaker.
Born in Kiev, Ukraine, Deren and her family were forced to flee the USSR due to anti-semitic pogroms. They arrived in the U.S. when Deren was 5 years old.
In 1943, using money from an inheritance, Deren made her first film, Meshes in the Afternoon which she co-directed with her husband, Alexander Hammid. The result was an experimental, independently financed 14 minute short film that won the Grand Prix Internationale at the 1946 Cannes Film Festival and immediately launched Deren as an influential filmmaker and a pioneer in the avant-garde movement.
Though none of her films would ever reach the success of Meshes in the Afternoon, Deren continued to produce short, surrealist and avant-garde films throughout her lifetime to critical success and acclaim. Her works remained independently financed and she was critical of Hollywood and commercial films throughout her whole life once saying, “I make my pictures for what Hollywood spends on lipstick.”
She died of brain hemorrhage at the age of 44.