NYWIFT @ Tribeca: In Conversation with Dawn Porter

By Tammy Reese

Dawn Porter, a distinguished member of NYWIFT, continues to make waves in the film industry with her dynamic storytelling and impactful documentaries. Known for her acclaimed works such as Gideon’s Army, Trapped, The Way I See It, and John Lewis: Good Trouble, Porter has captivated audiences across HBO, Netflix, CNN, PBS, and more. Her latest documentary, The Lady Bird Diaries, won the Lone Star Prize at the 2023 SXSW Film Festival and is now streaming on Hulu.

This year, Dawn takes the 2024 Tribeca Festival by storm as an Executive Producer of Rebel Nun, the director of Luther: Never Too Much, and the director of Power of the Dream.


NYWIFT Member Dawn Porter (image courtesy of Dawn Porter)

From Sundance, to SXSW Film Festival, to the Tribeca Festival and more, you’ve made a huge impact as a woman in the film industry. What do you enjoy most about your career and how do you keep motivated to continue your creative endeavors?

I love new challenges — figuring out how to approach each film. I also love assembling the right team for each project and enabling them to do great work.


Still from Rebel Nun (image courtesy of Tribeca Festival)


You’re an EP of Rebel Nun, the director of both Luther: Never Too Much, and Power of the Dream  — all which will be featured at the 2024 Tribeca Festival. Congratulations! What drew you to these projects, and what do you hope viewers take away from them?

As the director of LutherI was surprised — not shocked — that there was no feature film about him. Sony allowed us to access so many materials and so much music and so many things were surprising to me. It was a joyful film to dig into.

Rebel Nun  — I loved Sister Helen’s fearlessness and thought Dominic Sivyer had a great vision. I’m so proud to be associated with that movie. It’s really beautiful.

Power was a no-brainer. These young people stepped up when it mattered. They found their power. John Lewis is smiling at them from Heaven.


Still from Luther: Never Too Much (image courtesy of Tribeca Festival)

Can you share any memorable experiences or challenges you’ve faced while working on your documentaries, and how did you overcome them?

Experiences — interviewing President Obama. He answers questions in full and eloquent paragraphs. Traveling with John Lewis was also so much fun. He’s got a great sense of humor.

Making the series about the Supreme Court was tough  — the Justices wouldn’t speak to us and we had to comb through so many hours of archive — but we figured it out.


What inspired you to join New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT), and how has being a member influenced your career and filmmaking journey?

I adore NYWIFT. They uplift us all unwaveringly — it’s such a welcoming place in a tough business.


Still from Power of the Dream (image courtesy of Tribeca Festival)


Your work has been featured on various platforms, from HBO to Netflix and more. How do you navigate the different audiences and storytelling requirements of these platforms while maintaining your artistic vision?

What’s important is the story. If the storytelling is authentic and strong the audience will appreciate it.


Looking ahead, what future projects are you excited about, and what themes or stories are you eager to explore in your upcoming work?

I’m in South Africa filming Winnie and Nelson, a feature documentary. It’s my first time in Africa and it’s so beautiful here.


Connect with Dawn Porter on Instagram at  @dawnporter

And learn more about her work on her website https://www.trilogy-films.com/.


Tammy Reese

Tammy Reese Tammy Reese is CEO of Visionary Minds PR & Media, and a New York award winning Actress, Writer, and Journalist.

View all posts by Tammy Reese

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