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Gayle Knutson













From a young age I struggled with reading.  As a survival skill in the classroom, I crafted short films in my head to help me learn. This segued perfectly into my life as a director and producer of live action short, and documentary short films.


My poor reading ability put me in constant survival mode. Catching up to my peers seemed nearly impossible…like I was running uphill on sand.  It often left me with a sense of abandonment and loneliness. As a result, I became more aware of others waging their own personal battles.  I have a particular soft spot for the person who has to “go it alone.”  My films not only reflect the individual struggle, they allow the viewer to relate to their own struggles, or those faced by friends or family members.


As a filmmaker, I work at the intersection of tragedy and gentle humor while giving viewers a glimpse of Americana. My films reveal the lives of characters that, on the surface, appear to be everyday people. The subjects tackled may be familiar to most of us, but too often we are reluctant to think deeply about them – subjects such as an old man excited for his birthday, or a small-town pastor thinking outside the box, or a young woman with Down syndrome who falls in love. Audiences watching my short films experience small but truly significant moments in the lives of people they see day to day.


I always find it particularly powerful to reach that point in the story when the audience can see the approaching outcome before the protagonist comes to the same realization. This voyeuristic moment allows the audience to focus on how the characters react to their situation. In my short film, Grandfather’s Birthday, the viewer realizes before the grandfather that no one will show up for his birthday.  The audience is left with a compelling message about abandonment and loneliness that resonates long after they’ve seen the film.


However, while abandonment and loneliness are among the emotions in my films, I don’t believe that automatically means dark and depressing.

It is my nature to seek out a glimmer of hope, and find the humor in life. That too, is reflected in all of my work.


I continue to pursue live action and documentary short indie projects, two genres I particularly love for the challenge of conveying a powerful story in a limited amount of time. I hope to remain relevant as a short film artist while helping audiences gain a greater appreciation for the struggles of everyday people like themselves.




PO Box 205, Marine on St. Croix, MN 55047 USA

ph: 651-433-4499