GWENDOLEN CATES

 

Gwendolen received an Instamatic camera for her 9th birthday and was hooked. Before venturing into film, she photographed countless public figures, from Rosa Parks to George Clooney.  Her critically-acclaimed book "Indian Country" inspired Oprah to begin a series about Native Americans.  Her first feature documentary "Water Flowing Together" about Jock Soto, a renowned Navajo-Puerto Rican principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, won several awards and was nationally broadcast on PBS Independent Lens.  Her first cinematic collaboration with the Onondaga Nation was the award-winning short film "Guswenta," about the original treaty between indigenous people and European settlers.  During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, she was embedded with the U.S. military as a photographer for Time Inc., returned for PARADE magazine in 2004, and the World Monuments Fund in 2009. From 2008-2011 she traveled there often for an ongoing film project about Mesopotamian cultural heritage, including the indigenous communities undergoing genocide - Yezidis, Assyrians, and Mandaeans. As a result of her extensive time on the ground in Iraq and Syria, she has advised the White House, the U.S. Department of State Office of International Religious Freedom and Office of Iraqi Cultural Heritage. In 2013 she traveled around the world for a UN co-production on global women’s issues.  Gwendolen spent 3 months total covering the resistance at Standing Rock, and is currently working on "We Are Unarmed," a verité film that highlights treaties and historical context, and features indigenous women.  A native New Yorker, she studied cultural anthropology at the University of Chicago.   

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      ​© 2016 by Gwendolen Cates

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