Falcon Gott lived in Canada before moving to Moorhead in high school and the transition was more than just one of place: He rekindled his love of skating and discovered a new love for filmmaking. “We had the idea to use a camera and so we thought it’d just be very interesting to document us goofing around on our skates, film some stuff and take some photos,” Gott says. “Right there I was hooked, and so I started doing it consistently. Over the years, it developed into something that I enjoy doing.”
Gott, the newest artist in resident for Springboard for the Arts Hinge Arts residency, graduated from, as he put it, “goofing around with a camera on a pair of rollerblades,” to making videos for the Plains Art Museum in Fargo, the Fargo Native American Commission, as well as bands and bars in the Fargo-Moorhead area (although he still goofs off with a camera on a pair of rollerblades).
Knowing that filmmaking was a passion he wanted to pursue, Gott joined the film production program at Minnesota State University Moorhead. His advisor, a Nigerian professor with a background in indigenous studies, guided him toward Native-American cinema and indigenous cinema, representation and how it’s used in mainstream Hollywood films. “So that got me hooked on the history of it, because for most of the 100 years of cinema, Native Americans have been misrepresented and that has stuck,” he says. College helped him connect more with his Native-American heritage-- Gott is part of the Sapotaweyak Cree Nation in Manitoba-- prompting him to intern at the Plains Art Museum and volunteer with the Fargo Native American Commission.
In 2016, Gott made a video about one of the earliest Sing Our Rivers Red events meant to bring awareness to the epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous women and the mishandling of their cases. The group went out in snowy, windy and freezing weather (26 mph wind gusts, 5 degrees with windchill) because, as one attendee put it when they were discussing whether to reschedule, “If they’re still out there, then we should be out there.”
During his internship with the Plains Art Museum and their Native-American arts program, Gott was able to meet many Native American artists and hear their stories, like Duane Goodwin’s process in creating his sculpture, “Nokoomis Nibii Equay” (“Grandmother Water Woman”), for the MSUM campus. Even after finishing his internship, Laura Youngbird, the Native-American arts program director, has asked him to make some other videos for the museum.
Gott is out working on his own, now, and he has several projects lined up to work on during his residency. In addition to some personal projects, including a couple of music videos, Gott is working on a documentary about a medicine man he spent some time traveling with. “I know for that project I need to be in a certain mindset and ambitious for it, that’s hard to focus on just because, if I’m going to try and work on it I want to give it my all and can’t be distracted,” he says.
He’d also like to try something new with a narrative film and writing a script. “I would like to work on a narrative script because that’s what I want to start getting into, so that’ll be a short film about transitioning from high school to college for a Native student,” he says.
He’s grateful that he’s found filmmaking because it’s brought him closer to his Native-American heritage. “I never really grew up with the culture. I barely remember ever attending any type of Native events when I was little. It wasn’t until college where I was invited to these events and pow wows and all this stuff where I took interest, but I’ve been learning a lot about the Native culture through interacting and talking and creating these works with Native artists and Native people,” he says. “It’s interesting that I’m finding my way back to the culture through filmmaking.”
The next artist in residency, and the last artist for the summer/fall 2019 cohort, is St. Paul-based multimedia artist Laura Korynta. Community members will have an opportunity to meet Korynta and hear about her plans for the residency during her potluck meet and greet on Tuesday, Dec. 10. Guests are encouraged to bring a dish to share but it’s not required.