Speaker Dawn Porter
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Founder & Director
Dawn Porter is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose work has appeared on HBO, PBS, Discovery, and Netflix among others. She is currently directing and executive producing an Apple TV multi-part documentary series with Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry, which focuses on both mental illness and mental well-being.
Other current projects include the documentary Vernon Jordan: Make It Plain which explores Vernon Jordan’s rise from the segregated South to become one of the most influential African American thought leaders in America; John Lewis: Good Trouble for CNN Films, which explores late Congressman John Lewis’ pivotal role in the Civil Rights movement and decades of political and social activism on important issues including voting rights, immigration laws, and much more; and The Way I See It, about photojournalist Pete Souza, who served as Chief Official White House photographer for President Barack Obama and previously as an Official White House photographer for President Ronald Reagan.
Dawn also directed and produced the acclaimed four-hour Netflix original series Bobby Kennedy for President, which was released in 2018 and premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.
A two-time Sundance festival Director, her film Trapped which explored laws regulating abortion clinics in the South won the special jury social-impact prize at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, in addition to a Peabody and numerous other awards.
Her 2013 documentary Gideon's Army premiered on HBO and won best editing at Sundance. Gideon’s Army was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and an Emmy, and is part of the U.S. Department of State’s American Film Showcase.
Dawn also directed and produced Spies of Mississippi, a critically-acclaimed historical documentary that was part of the Independent Lens series on PBS. In 2015 Dawn directed and produced Rise: The Promise of My Brother’s Keeper, a film for The Discovery Channel chronicling President Obama’s program to help young men of color succeed.
Dawn has been commissioned to create films for the Center for Investigative Reporting, Time and Essence Magazines, The New York Times Op Docs, and Amazon. Her work has received generous support from the MacArthur Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, Tribeca Film Institute, Sundance Film Institute, Chicken & Egg Pictures and other esteemed organizations. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Directors Guild of America.
Speaking on: Propelling Premium Documentary