Filmmaker Dawn Porter (“John Lewis: Good Trouble”) writes about exploring the Tulsa and Red Summer massacres in “Rise Again: Tulsa and the Red Summer,” debuting June 18 on NatGeo.
Award-winning filmmaker, producer, and mental health/social justice advocate Dawn Porter has emerged in the entertainment industry as a leader in the art of storytelling; directing and producing critically acclaimed projects that have impacted generations of people from all walks of life. In 2020 Porter’s two poignant documentaries, The Way I See It (Focus Features) which is a look into two American presidencies, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama from the lens of official White House photographer Pete Souza, and John Lewis: Good Trouble (Magnolia Pictures), the story of the congressman and civil rights icon, have been praised by critics and audiences alike.
As a two-time Sundance film festival director, Porter discovered her passion for filmmaking following her time as an attorney. She made her feature directorial debut in 2013 with Gideon’s Army, which premiered on HBO, was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and an Emmy, won Best Editing at Sundance, and is now part of the U.S. Department of State’s American Film Showcase. Her 2016 film Trapped, which explores laws regulating abortion clinics in the South, won the Special Jury Social-Impact Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, and a Peabody Award (to name a few). Additional film directing credits for Porter include National Geographic’s upcoming special Red Summer, PBS’ Spies of Mississippi and The Discovery Channel’s Rise: The Promise of My Brother’s Keeper. On the television front, Porter directed Netflix’s 2018 four-part series Bobby Kennedy for President and is set to direct and executive produce Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry’s upcoming documentary series on mental illness and mental well-being for Apple TV+.
When she isn’t working on her documentary projects, Porter frequently lectures at universities throughout the nation, a passion she honed during her time as professor and Head of the Documentary Program at the prestigious UC Berkeley School of Journalism.