Dawn Porter debuted her 2nd feature length documentary, Trapped, at Sundance Film Festival on Sunday, January 24th.  Trapped highlights five abortion providers in Alabama, Texas, and Mississippi as they fight Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws, passed by conservative state legislatures to make it harder for abortion clinics to keep their doors open. Porter was inspired to pursue the story after learning there was only one abortion clinic in Mississippi.

Prior to working in independent film, Porter practiced law for five years and worked as Director of Standards and Practices at ABC News and as the Vice President of Standard and Practices at A&E Television Networks.

“I took a big risk and left my very cushy direct deposit job with health insurance and did something that meant something to me. My work now is truly an expression of who I am.” – Dawn Porter

Since her transition into the film industry, Porter has already caused major waves in the film community and is making her mark.  Her 2013 documentary, Gideon’s Army won the Sundance Film Festival Editing Award and the Tribeca All Access Creative Promise Award. The film was broadcast on HBO in July 2013 and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and an Emmy.

Dawn also directed and produced Spies of Mississippi, a documentary that was part of ITVS’ 2014 Independent Lens series on PBS. The film tells the little-known story of a state-sponsored campaign to defeat the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.  Porter’s other documentary, Rise: The Promise of My Brother’s Keeper, chronicled President Obama’s program to help young men and boys of color succeed.  She interviewed President Obama for this film, and it aired on The Discovery Channel and The Oprah Winfrey Network this past June.

Dawn Porter’s story of transition is a prime example of what can happen when you take a risk to pursue your passion.  I am very aware of how cliche this sounds; however, the first step to any achievement is finding the courage to take a risk, doing what you love, and committing to your goal.  Dawn Porter did exactly that and is now changing the way society views the world through her art of documentary filmmaking.  This is proof that it can be done!

“If someone said to me, ‘if you leave your direct deposit job with a major corporation with free health care you will be okay; HBO will buy your film; it will premiere at Sundance and win an award and it will reach so many people you will be floored,’ I would have thought they were crazy. And yet here I am. Nothing went as I expected, I had to make a lot of hard decisions, but I made them for better or worse, I put myself out there, I took a risk, I failed and then I had some success.” – Dawn Porter

For more information on Dawn Porter’s work visit http://trilogy-films.com/ – And check out herMeet the Artist interview at Sundance and trailer of her Sundance feature documentary Trapped

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The HBR Media Team is a collective group of black women filmmakers, writers, and studio/network executives who are passionate about bringing visibility to women of African descent working in film and television.

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