Lawyer Turned Filmmaker, Dawn Porter, To Be Featured MLK Speaker

Hilbert’s 5th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration Celebration presented by the Office of Multicultural Affairs
Release Date:
January 14, 2014
Matt Heidt,

HAMBURG, N.Y. – Lawyer turned filmmaker, Dawn Porter, will present “Public Defenders: The Keepers of Civil Rights” as the keynote speaker during the 5th Annual Commemoration Celebration in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to be held on Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 4 p.m. in Hilbert’s Swan Auditorium. Porter’s presentation will be preceded by two screenings of her HBO Documentary – Gideon’s Army – on Tuesday, January 28 at 12:25 p.m. and Wednesday, January 29 at 7 p.m. Both screenings will take place in 101 Bogel Hall. 


As the founder of Trilogy Films, Porter became the director and producer of Gideon’s Army, which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and appeared on HBO Documentary Films in July 2013. Gideon’s Army follows three young public defenders in the Deep South during their daily mission to counsel hundreds of defendants through the strained criminal justice system.


As an alumnus of the Tribeca All Access program, Porter won the 2011 juried Creative Promise Award for Gideon’s Army. Realscreen named Porter one of their 2012 Doc Hot Shots 15 emerging directors to watch. Other Trilogy projects include Spies of Mississippi for ARTE Germany and PBS, and a documentary about celebrity Chef Alexandra Guarnaschelli for the Cooking Channel.


Porter also works in narrative features as executive producer on Serious Moonlight, written by Adrienne Shelley and starring Meg Ryan and Timothy Hutton.  Serious Moonlight debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival and was released theatrically by Magnolia Pictures and domestically on Lifetime Movie Network. She is also an executive producer on The Green, an independent feature premiering on Showtime Networks and starring Cheyenne Jackson (30 Rock) and Emmy®-winning actress Julia Ormond.


Before becoming a filmmaker she was the Director of News Standards and Practices at ABC News, and Vice President of Standards and Practices at A&E Networks. Dawn is a graduate of Swarthmore College and the Georgetown University Law Center. She was a practicing attorney at Baker & Hostetler and ABC Television Networks before beginning her television career. 

For more information on the film go to: and become a fan on Facebook at GideonsArmyFilm.

For more information or to make advance reservations contact the Office of Multicultural Affairs at or 716-926-8835.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 12:25 p.m. and Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 7 p.m.
Screening of Gideon’s Army in 101 Bogel Hall

Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 4 p.m.
Keynote Address – Dawn Porter – “Public Defenders: The Keepers of Civil Rights”



Hilbert College, located in suburban Hamburg, N.Y., south of Buffalo, is a private four-year college founded in 1957 in the Catholic Franciscan tradition. With nearly 1,100 students, Hilbert is a dynamic Western New York college that offers career-focused majors, including one of the top criminal justice programs in the region, and more than 50 minors and concentrations. The college’s engaging, student-centered campus community offers numerous leadership, internship, and service learning opportunities from which students launch successful careers while making positive changes in their communities. The Hilbert Blueprint promotes a well-rounded student experience over four years – starting with the Foundations Seminar in the freshman year, followed by Sophomore Service, Junior Symposium, and culminating with the Senior Capstone. Hilbert has expanded its academic offerings with the college’s first graduate programs and new Accelerated Degree Programs geared to adult learners.