About Trilogy Films
We're a film production company that specializes in creating award-winning, feature-length documentaries. We also work with businesses and non-profit organizations to create media that communicate big ideas in smart ways.
Dawn Porter is an award-winning filmmaker, whose acclaimed four-part documentary series “Bobby Kennedy For President” debuted on Netflix in 2018. She is currently a faculty member of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, where she teaches production and serves as lead adviser to the School’s documentary students. She is currently the interim director of the Documentary Program for the ‘18-19 academic year.
Porter directed and produced the documentary “Gideon’s Army,” which told the stories of public defenders in the South who work against staggering caseloads and low pay to help defend poor people accused of crime. The film won the Sundance Film Festival Editing Award and the Tribeca All Access Creative Promise Award, as well as the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award for Media and the Arts and the prestigious Ridenhour Documentary Film Prize. It aired on HBO in July 2013 and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award, a Cinema Eye Award, and an Emmy.
Her 2016 film, “Trapped,” explored the impact of laws regulating abortion clinics in the South as they struggle in the face of an increasingly hostile legal and political climate. The film premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Special Jury Award for Social Impact Filmmaking. Among its numerous prizes and recognitions were the Silver Gavel Award and a Peabody Award.
Porter’s other films include the Independent Lens film “Spies of Mississippi” (2014, PBS) on the little-known story of a state-sponsored campaign to defeat the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, and “Rise: The Promise of My Brother’s Keeper,” chronicling President Obama’s program to help young men and boys of color succeed. Porter interviewed Obama for the film, which aired nationally on The Discovery Channel and The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) in 2015.
Her short films have been distributed by Time Inc., Amazon, and The New York Times Op Docs. In 2015, Alex Gibney’s production company Jigsaw Productions selected her to direct a centerpiece film for the well-regarded series “The New Yorker Presents” for Amazon. In 2016, Porter was named to Variety’s “10 Documakers to Watch” and received the Robert and Anne Drew Award for Documentary Excellence at DOC NYC’s Visionaries Tribute.
A frequent lecturer, Porter has spoken to colleges and universities around the world about criminal justice, filmmaking, women’s rights and social equality. Her work has received generous grant awards from the MacArthur Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Tribeca Film Institute, Sundance Film Institute, and Chicken & Egg Pictures. She is a member of the Directors Guild of America, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, and the documentary branch of the Academy of Motion Pictures.
Before she began her career as a filmmaker, Porter was an attorney with the firm of Baker & Hostetler in Washington, D.C. She then worked as director of Standards and Practices at ABC News and as vice president of Standards and Practices at A&E Television Networks. She is a graduate of Swarthmore College and the Georgetown University Law Center and practiced law for five years.