On July 3, 2020, NYWIFT hosted a Q&A with Dawn Porter, director of the new documentary John Lewis: Good Trouble, following a virtual screening of the new documentary about the legendary Civil Rights activist and Congressman. The conversation was moderated by NYWIFT Board Member Leslie Fields-Cruz.
About the Film
Using interviews and rare archival footage, John Lewis: Good Trouble chronicles Lewis’ 60-plus years of social activism and legislative action on civil rights, voting rights, gun control, health-care reform and immigration. Using present-day interviews with Lewis, now 80 years old, Porter explores his childhood experiences, his inspiring family and his fateful meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1957. In addition to her interviews with Lewis and his family, Porter’s primarily cinéma verité film also includes interviews with political leaders, Congressional colleagues, and other people who figure prominently in his life.
Dawn Porter is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose work has appeared on HBO, PBS, Discovery, and Netflix among others. Porter, who is the founder of Trilogy Films, 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. Her other films include Spies of Mississippi, a critically-acclaimed historical documentary that was part of the Independent Lens series on PBS, and in 2015, 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.
Leslie Fields-Cruz (moderator), Executive Director of Black Public Media (BPM), started at BPM, then known as the National Black Programming Consortium, in 2001 managing grant making activities that supported the production and development of documentary programs for PBS. She was promoted to director of programming in 2005 and oversaw the distribution of funded programs to public television. Frustrated with the lack of content that spoke to the diversity of experiences within the African diaspora, Leslie curated the first season of BPM’s award-winning series AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange. Now in its 11th season AfroPoP is still the only national public television series focused solely on stories about the global Black experience. In the fall of 2014, Leslie became BPM’s third executive director. Though she keeps the pulse on the development of program content and its distribution across public media platforms, she is focused on growing BPM’s resources to enable it to support more stories about the Black experience. Leslie serves on the board of directors for NYWIFT and New Era Creative Space (NECS), a local community arts center in Peekskill, NY.
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