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The Director

Directors impose a recognizable style or world-view on a movie, mostly by making choices. And some directors have asserted that their most important choices are made before a single foot of film is exposed--when they select or write a project that suits their temperament, and when they "cast" the project with actors and behind-the-scenes collaborators. These are, after all, the people who will offer them a range of options to choose from on the set. During production, in fact, the director's job often seems to consist of answering an endless series of questions raised by department heads, from "Where should we put the camera?" to "Should Tom wear the red hat or the green hat?" It is the sum total of all those choices that constitutes the work of the director. In an intensely collaborative medium like film, of course, every contribution can be vital; an assistant director with stand-out crowd-control skills, for example, could be crucial to the impact of an action scene. But if a film is to be a coherent work of art rather than a scramble of individual gestures, a single coordinating sensibility must dominate. Be they geniuses or hacks, the director is the one person who must always have the big picture in mind, while considering how any given detail will add to the overall design or help propel and clarify the story.

Biography

Gilbert Cates is executive producer and director of Collected Stories, the second production in the acclaimed new drama series PBS HOLLYWOOD PRESENTS. A leader in television, film and theater, he is currently the producing director of the Geffen Playhouse, where he directed the Ovation Award-winning stage production of Collected Stories in 1999.

During the course of his distinguished career, Cates has produced and directed such notable films as the 1970 screen version of the Broadway hit I Never Sang for My Father, starring Melvyn Douglas, Gene Hackman and Estelle Parsons, which earned three Academy Award nominations; Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams, starring Joanne Woodward and Sylvia Sidney, which received two Oscar nominations; The Promise; One Summer Love; The Last Married Couple in America, starring George Segal and Natalie Wood; Oh God!, Book II, starring George Burns; and Backfire.

His numerous television credits as director and/or producer include the Emmy Award-winning To All My Friends on Shore, starring Bill Cosby; The Affair, starring Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner; After the Fall, starring Faye Dunaway and Christopher Plummer; Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye; The Kid from Nowhere; County Gold; Faire Tale Theatre's Rapunzel and Goldilocks and the Three Bears; Hobson's Choice; Burning Rage; Consenting Adult; Fatal Judgment; Do You Know the Muffin Man?; Call Me Anna; Absolute Strangers; In My Daughter's Name; and Tom Clancy's NetForce. He most recently directed James Agee's A Death in the Family, for Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection on PBS.

Also a long-time producer of the Annual Academy Awards, Cates produced his tenth Oscar telecast in 2001. These award shows have won 17 Emmys.

As the producing director of the Geffen Playhouse, a non-profit professional theater company with extensive education and outreach programs, Cates is dedicated to enriching the Los Angeles theatrical spectrum by presenting the finest in contemporary and classical theater. In November 1996, he received the James A. Doolittle Award for Leadership in the Los Angeles Theater.

Cates served two terms as President of the Directors Guild of America (1983-1987). In 1989, he received the Guild's Robert B. Aldrich Award for extraordinary service, and in 1991, he received the DGA's Honorary Life Membership. Other awards include Syracuse University Chancellor's Medal for Distinguished Service in the Theater and an NAACP Image Award as Television Producer of the Year.

Cates also served as Dean of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television from 1990-1998.

 
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Gil Cates
Gil Cates

 

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