Gwendolen Cates is an award-winning independent documentary filmmaker, photographer and author. She is currently completing the feature documentary THE DOCTRINE about the Doctrine of Discovery. Her first multi-award-winning film WATER FLOWING TOGETHER about Navajo-Puerto Rican New York City Ballet principal dancer Jock Soto was nationally broadcast on PBS Independent Lens. Other productions include the award-winning film THE GOOD MIND (2016) which 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; WE ARE UNARMED (2020) bears witness to the historic resistance at Standing Rock, going behind the scenes with three Indigenous women who had central roles; and the short film GUSWENTA: RENEWING THE TWO ROW WAMPUM (2014) which 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.  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 several times for an ongoing film and photography project titled MOURNING IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN 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. She traveled around the world for a UN co-production on global women’s issues. Originally an editorial photographer, she has photographed countless 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, SonyABC, and Vanity Fair.  Her critically acclaimed book INDIAN COUNTRY (Grove Press 2001) inspired Oprah to begin a series on Native Americans.  A native New Yorker, Gwendolen studied cultural anthropology at the University of Chicago.


My first camera

Just one more!