Gwendolen Cates is an award-winning independent documentary filmmaker, photographer and author. She has photographed many public figures including George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio, Serena Williams, Michael Jordan, Sean Connery, Michael Douglas, Alec Baldwin, Madeleine Albright, Whoopi Goldberg, Wilma Mankiller, and Rosa Parks, for clients such as Rolling Stone, Life, Time, Men's Journal, Premiere, People, Parade, GQ, Sony, ABC, and Vanity Fair.  Her critically acclaimed book “Indian Country” (Grove Press 2001) inspired Oprah to begin a series on Native Americans.  Her first award-winning documentary film,“Water Flowing Together” (2007) about Navajo-Puerto Rican New York City Ballet star Jock Soto premiered at Silverdocs, and was nationally broadcast on PBS Independent Lens. The short film “Guswenta: Renewing the Two Row Wampum” (2014) documents the epic paddling journey from the Onondaga Nation to the United Nations in New York City during the summer of 2013 on the anniversary of the first agreement or treaty between Indigenous people and European settlers on Turtle Island.  Her most recent award-winning film “The Good Mind” (2016) follows Onondaga Nation leaders as they fight to protect their sovereignty, culture and the environment while seeking justice for ancestral lands stolen by New York State in violation of a 1794 treaty with George Washington. During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Gwendolen was embedded with the U.S. military as a photographer for Time Inc., returned for Parade Magazine in 2004, and with the World Monuments Fund in 2009.  From 2008-2011 she traveled to Iraq and Syria many times for an ongoing film and photography project about Mesopotamian cultural heritage and Indigenous communities (Yezidi, Assyrian, Mandaean.) As a result of her extensive time on the ground, she has advised the Obama White House, the U.S. Department of State Office of International Religious Freedom and Office of Iraqi Cultural Heritage. In 2013 Gwendolen traveled around the world for a UN co-production on global women’s issues. She is currently completing the feature documentary "We Are Unarmed" about the peaceful resistance at Standing Rock. A native New Yorker, Gwendolen studied cultural anthropology at the University of Chicago.


My first camera

Just one more!