By Olivia Slyter
Falcon Gott, Sapotaweyak Cree Nation member and filmmaker/photographer, was recently named North Dakota Human Rights Film Festival Native American Programs Director, and has many projects in store for the upcoming months.
In high school, Gott began his career as a filmmaker, shooting short videos of his friends at the skatepark. He would then go on to attend Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM), while furthering his love for filmmaking. Gott expands on his discovery of documenting saying, “I honestly thought it was just a phase, but because I was highly fascinated with documenting (still am to this day), it stuck with me, or I stayed with it.”
After his time at MSUM, Gott would intern for the Plains Art Museum in Fargo, ND. Not long after, he found himself working alongside the Director of the Native American Artists Program at the museum. This is when and where his career truly began to take shape. He began directing, editing, and shooting documentaries reflecting Native American culture.
While attending MSUM, Gott was a part of the American Indian Student Association (AISA), where he would organize events to bring awareness to issues in the Native American community. It was in this organization that Gott realized how important it was to be a part of the community in ways that matte, and that have a positive impact on society. This is what inspires him to continue his photography and filmmaking passions.
“As the years went by and I continued to meet those who work in the community, I found myself having opportunities to be associated with and having part in some sort of leadership role,” Gott said, reliving his experiences in and after the AISA.
These leadership roles and experiences eventually led to Gott being named the North Dakota Human Rights Film Festival (NDHRFF) Native American Programs Director at the 2021 NDHRFF summit. This summit, which took place from Nov 2-18, included workshops, seminars and discussions of films created by those in the community, including Gott.
After attending the NDHRFF in past years, Gott was finally able to go behind the scenes and work directly with others at the festival. Here, Gott was named North Dakota Human Rights Film Festival Native American Programs Director. This position includes curating, developing, facilitating, and managing Native American Programming. Gott explains the overall goal,
“To grow its artistic vision, scope and scale, distinctive global reputation, and local audience impact specific to Native American filmmakers and human rights and social justice issues of meaning to local and national Indigenous communities.”
Advocacy shows itself in Gott’s life in various ways. His goal is to portray Native Americans and Native American culture in an accurate way that defeats typical stereotypes held by those not a part of the Native American community.
Gott’s photography captures nature in its most beautiful form: untouched. He focuses much of his attention on skate-culture, mainly rollerblading. He also captures candid photos of busy streets or rooms, with beautiful architecture surrounding them. Even with his new position, Gott is working on even more projects and events for the future.
“For film production and photography, there are a few events and projects that I am looking forward to in 2022. Outside of film and photography, there are two projects that I am thinking about that I hope gain some sort of traction and momentum in the coming months because I think they’ll be fun and beneficial to all who are involved. I just have to wait and see.“
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