From filmmaker Gwendolen Cates:
I hope that this film will open eyes and minds about the seemingly disparate worlds it portrays, woven together in the life of one man. There are many stereotypes about dancers, Native people and gay people which the film attempts to dispel. It would be wonderful if more people took an interest in ballet after seeing the film. The classical arts have been struggling in this country, and I hope the film will draw more attention to ballet, help make it more accessible. I also hope that audiences will come away with a more realistic view of Native people. While most Indians do live on reservations, there are many urban Indians, and many of mixed heritage. It is so important to bring Jock’s story to Native communities for several reasons. Clearly he is a terrific role model for Native youth. Also, there is no openly gay Native American role model. Homophobia was imported along with Christianity to Native communities, which had traditionally respected gay people, and there are problems with depression and suicide among closeted Indian young people. Jock and I have always hoped that this film will inspire young people, and have begun to fundraise for an educational initiative which will reach Indian reservations, Latino communities, ballet schools, colleges and universities, stimulating conversation and awareness about the arts and identity.
Her three favorite films:
Lawrence of Arabia
Aguirre: The Wrath of God
Her advice for aspiring filmmakers:
Be very realistic about the project you embark on, in terms of both funding prospects and audience. Make a film that you really care about. Stay true to the story. People are moved by the truth.
Her most inspirational food for making independent film:
Gwendolen Cates, an award-winning photographer and author, made her filmmaking debut with WATER FLOWING TOGETHER. The film has received three awards to date. Her book Indian Country (Grove Press, 2001) was reviewed as one of the top ten illustrated books of the year by USA Today, and received other critical accolades including being featured on Oprah. Over the course of Cates’s 20-year career her photographs have been published as covers and features in major publications such as Parade, Men’s Journal, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, GQ, Sports Illustrated, Entertainment Weekly, Time and People. She has photographed innumerable celebrities and public figures, including George Clooney, Oprah, Sheryl Crow, Halle Berry, Bruce Willis, Robin Williams, Bill Murray and Colin Powell. Her next film is Mourning in the Garden of Eden, about the cultural destruction of Iraq during this war. A native New Yorker who attended the University of Chicago, she resides in Manhattan.