In 1971, graduate student Gloria Orenstein received a call from Surrealist artist Leonora Carrington that sparked a lifelong journey into art, ecofeminism and shamanism. “Gloria’s Call” uses art, animation and storytelling to celebrate this wild adventure from the cafes of Paris to the mountaintops of Samiland.
Interview with Writer/Director/Producer Cheri Gaulke
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
Our friend, Gloria Orenstein, a renowned scholar, has whimsical stories about meeting women artists of Surrealism. We wanted to bring her stories alive through animation.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
Audiences might be familiar with the Surrealist art of Salvador Dali (melting clocks) but how much do they know about the women artists of Surrealism? Our film takes audiences into these women artists’ world and reveals their visionary art as well as their struggles.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
Some of the themes that emerge in these women artists’ work include spirituality, mysticism, ecofeminism, and ageing. As women artists ourselves, we could relate to their work, as well as their struggle to be recognized for their unique voices in a male-dominated art world.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
The core of our story is our subject, scholar Gloria Orenstein, tells personal stories of her friendships and adventures with artists and a shaman who takes her on a magical journey to Samiland. Our challenge was to wrangle these delightful tales into a short film and then illustrate the stories with animation.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
When we first shared this film at a national conference of art educators, the audience was thrilled at how we were able to teach about the art in a way that was fun and entertaining. Many were eager to be able to show the film in their classrooms and we hope that through some sort of distribution that can happen. General audiences and all ages and genders have expressed delight.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
As first-time animators, we have been gratified by overwhelmingly positive feedback.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
The film can be a springboard for conversations about women in the arts and how their imagery might be different from that of male artists. We want people to seek out women’s art.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
We would love to find a distributor that can help us get this film into classrooms and living rooms.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
Visionary art like Surrealism opens up new worlds of thinking. Art is important. It can teach us about different kinds of experiences in the physical and metaphysical worlds. We hope emerging artists will be inspired by previous generations.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
Why don’t we know more about women artists? Is women’s art different than art made by men?
What other projects are the key creatives developing or working on now?
We are developing a feature documentary called Acting Like Women: Performance Art and the Woman’s Building about a dynamic art movement during the 1970s and 1980s.
Interview: January 2019
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series, music video, women's films, LGBTQIA+, POC, First Nations, scifi, supernatural, horror, world cinema. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
In 1971, graduate student Gloria Orenstein received a call from Surrealist artist Leonora Carrington that sparked a lifelong journey into art, ecofeminism and shamanism. “Gloria’s Call” uses art, animation and storytelling to celebrate this wild adventure from the cafes of Paris to the mountaintops of Samiland. Forty years later, Dr. Gloria Orenstein is a pioneer scholar of women in Surrealism and ecofeminism. Her delightful tale brings alive an often unseen history of women in the arts.
Director: Cheri Gaulke
Producer: Cheryl Bookout, Anne Gauldin, Cheri Gaulke, Sue Maberry, Christine Papalexis
Writer: Anne Gauldin, Cheri Gaulke
About the writer, director and producer:
CHERI GAULKE is a pioneer in the feminist art movement in Los Angeles affiliated with the historic organization the Woman’s Building. Her films have screened in festivals internationally. She is currently developing a feature doc about 1970-1980s feminist performance art.
ANNE GAULDIN is a feminist artist, graphic designer and business entrepreneur. She is a founding member of performance art groups The Waitresses and Sisters Of Survival.
CHERYL BOOKOUT is the Executive Director and Cofounder of The Chimaera Project, a nonprofit focusing on action and advocacy for female filmmakers. SUE MABERRY is the Director of the Library and Instructional Technology at Otis College of Art and Design where she has worked to promote the visibility of women artists. CHRISTINE PAPALEXIS is a puppeteer and builder of puppets for film and television. Her short marionette film, Amaterasu, has screened in festivals internationally.
Key cast: Gloria Orenstein, subject
Looking for: sales agents, distributors, journalists, film festival directors, buyers
Facebook: Gloria’s Call
Funders: Southern California Women’s Caucus for Art, Harvard-Westlake School, the Woman’s Building
Where can I watch it next and in the coming month? Slamdance, Park City, Utah - Jan. 31, Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival, Thessaloniki, Greece - March 1-10, Albany Film Festival, Albany, California - March 24, Las Vegas Women’s Film Festival, Las Vegas, Nevada - March 24-25, American Documentary Film Festival, Palm Springs, California - March 29-April 4