From her 2013 directorial debut Gideon’s Army, on the trials of public defenders, to John Lewis: Good Trouble, her 2020 tribute to the late Congressman, Dawn Porter’s documentaries reveal the scope and scale of American injustice while never capitulating to pessimism. Whether focusing attention on the carceral system, abortion access, or voter suppression, her films suggest that the rights guaranteed by the Constitution are upheld through the collective efforts of an earnest, anonymous many. In this interview, Porter reflects on the appeal of contradictory characters, her objective to “disappear” as a documentarian, and the challenges of completing a film during an international pandemic.

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