Documentary Filmmaking - Corporate Videos - Interactive Media

We Dig Deeper

What We Do

ABOUT TRILOGY FILMS

We're a film production company in Montclair, New Jersey that specializes in creating award-winning, feature-length documentaries. We also work with businesses and non-profit organizations to create short films that communicate big ideas in smart ways.

  • “GIDEON’S ARMY is a bare film with no narrator and a minimal soundtrack. That’s all it needs to grab you by the throat.”

    The New York Times
  • ” … an eye-opening insight into a judicial hellhole world that ordinary citizens can never imagine.”

    The Hollywood Reporter
  • “Porter’s film is not just a stirring testament to those taking on a Herculean task of bringing some sense of fairness and balance to an out of whack structure, but a reminder that there is still a far distance to go before everyone is equally represented in front of lady justice.”

    The Playlist
  • “Like the film itself, Porter’s handful of devoted, charismatic attorneys do a righteous job of reminding people that the accused are innocent until proven guilty, and that the criminal justice system seems otherwise disposed.”

    Variety
  •  
  • “HBO’s most illuminating crime drama since THE WIRE.”

    Village Voice

WORK

Browse our most recent projects below.

GIDEON’S ARMY

  • HBO Documentary Films: Broadcast July, 2013
  • Director: Dawn Porter

“Everyone deserves the best defense. They Fight for it.”

GIDEON’S ARMY follows the personal stories of Travis Williams, Brandy Alexander and June Hardwick — three young public defenders who are part of a small group of idealistic lawyers in the Deep South challenging the assumptions that drive a criminal justice system strained to the breaking point. Backed by mentor Jonathan “Rap” Rapping, a charismatic leader who heads the Southern Public Defender Training Center (now known as Gideon’s Promise) they struggle against long hours, low pay and staggering caseloads so common that even the most committed often give up in their first year. Nearly 50 years since the landmark Supreme Court ruling Gideon vs. Wainwright that established the right to counsel, can these courageous lawyers revolutionize the way America thinks about indigent defense and make “justice for all” a reality?

An official selection in the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2013 Sundance Film FestivalGIDEON’S ARMY was awarded the festival’s editing prize and premiered on HBO in July 2013. Since then, the film has been used across the globe to engage local communities in important conversations about indigent defense, race, the U.S. justice system and socioeconomic influences on crime.

In 2014, GIDEON’S ARMY was nominated for the American Bar Association’s 2014 Silver Gavel Award for Media and the Arts and received the prestigious Ridenhour Documentary Film Prize. The film was also selected to be included in the U.S. Department of State’s American Film Showcase, which is operated by the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts.

 

SPIES OF MISSISSIPPI

  • PBS: Broadcast February, 2014
  • Director: Dawn Porter

“A journey into the world of informants, infiltrators and agent provocateurs in Old Dixie”

SPIES OF MISSISSIPPI is a journey into the world of informants, infiltrators, and agent provocateurs in the heart of Dixie.

The film tells the story of a secret spy agency formed by the state of Mississippi to preserve segregation and maintain “the Mississippi way of life,” white supremacy, during the 1950s and ‘60s. The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission (MSSC) evolved from a predominantly public relations agency to a full-fledged spy operation, spying on over 87,000 Americans over the course of a decade.

The Commission employed a network of investigators and informants, including African Americans, to help infiltrate some of the largest Black organizations like National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). The MSSC was granted broad powers to investigate private citizens and organizations, keep secret files, make arrests, and compel testimony for a state that, as civil rights activist Lawrence Guyot says in the film, “was committed to an apartheid system that would make South Africa blush.”

The film reveals the full scope and impact of the Commission, including its links to private white supremacist organizations, its ties to investigative agencies in other states, and even its program to bankroll the opposition to civil rights legislation in Washington D.C.

Weaving in chilling footage of Ku Klux Klan rallies and government propaganda films alongside rare images and interviews from the period, SPIES OF MISSISSIPPI tracks the Commission’s hidden role in many of the most important chapters of the civil rights movement, including the integration of the University of Mississippi, the assassination of Medgar Evers, and the KKK murders of three civil rights workers in 1964.

Part of Independent Lens‘ 2013-14 season, SPIES OF MISSISSIPPI aired nationally in February 2014 on PBS.

In March 2014, an “appumentary” was launched that allows students, teachers and interested viewers to further connect with the film. The app offers unseen footage, exclusive interviews and curriculum modules that meet Common Core State Standards.

TRAPPED

  • TBD: Release Date Forthcoming
  • Director: Dawn Porter

What happens when there are no choices left?

At least half of American women will experience an unintended pregnancy by the age of 45. Four in ten unwanted pregnancies are terminated by abortion. What would happen if access to care for these cases completely disappeared?

TRAPPED is a new film from Dawn Porter, whose documentary GIDEON’S ARMY premiered on HBO in July 2013 and won the U.S. Documentary Best Editing Award at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

Following the progress of two Southern reproductive health clinics, TRAPPED captures their struggle as they continue to provide care in the face of an increasingly hostile legal and political climate. With support from the Firelight Media Next Step Fund, the MacArthur Foundation, Catapult Film Fund and a finishing grant from Chicken and Egg PicturesTRAPPED promises to be another provocative, influential documentary from Porter.

In 2014, the Southern Documentary Fund featured early footage from TRAPPED at the Full Frame Documentary Festival at its annual In-The-Works event.

AWARDS

Our work has received awards and special recognition.

Ridenhour Prize
2013 Sundance Film Festival
Miami International Film Festival
Film Independent's Spirt Award Nominee
Good Pitch

 

Candescent
Tribeca Film Institute
AFI Docs
Sundance Film Festival
HotDocs

CLIENTS

We've worked with a broad range of companies and distributors.

HBO
PBS
Food Network
JP Morgan Chase
AARP

 

Ohio Justice and Policy Center
Cooking Channel
ITVS
Montclair Art Museum
Arte

THE TEAM

We cultivate a diverse team that brings
award-winning skills and innovative ideas to each project.

Dawn Porter

Dawn Porter

Founder / Director View Details
Summer Damon

Summer Damon

Co-Producer View Details
Amanda Goscinski

Amanda Goscinski

Associate Producer View Details
Matt Cowan

Matt Cowan

Editor View Details
Nadja Thomas

Nadja Thomas

Assistant Editor / Production Assistant View Details
Bryce Kirchoff

Bryce Kirchoff

Communications & Web View Details
Dawn Porter

Dawn Porter

Founder / Director

Dawn Porter is an award-winning filmmaker whose 2013 documentary GIDEON'S ARMY won the Sundance Film Festival Editing Award and the Tribeca All Access Creative Promise Award. The film broadcast on HBO in July 2013 and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and is currently nominated for an Emmy Award.

Dawn also directed and produced SPIES OF MISSISSIPPI — a critically acclaimed historical 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.

Dawn is currently working on two new films: TRAPPED, which recently received grant funds from the MacArthur Foundation and explores the impact of efforts to close abortion clinics in the South; and THE NEW JIM CROW, which focuses on America's mass incarceration rates and is based on Michelle Alexander's book by the same name.

Dawn's projects have received generous grant awards from the Ford Foundation, Tribeca Film Institute, Sundance Film Institute, Chicken & Egg Pictures and other esteemed organizations.

Prior to her independent filmmaking, Dawn worked as Director of Standards and Practices at ABC News and as Vice President of Standard and Practices at A&E Television Networks. She was an Executive Producer on SERIOUS MOONLIGHT (Magnolia Pictures), written by Adrienne Shelley and starring Meg Ryan and Timothy Hutton and THE GREEN (Showtime Networks) starring Cheyenne Jackson (30 Rock) and Julia Ormond.

Summer Damon

Summer Damon

Co-Producer

Summer Damon joined Trilogy Films in 2009. She has been an integral part of the company’s development ever since. Summer co-produced the Sundance Festival Award-winning documentary GIDEON'S ARMY, which broadcast on HBO in 2013. She also co-produced SPIES OF MISSISSIPPI — a historical documentary that was part of ITVS' 2014 Independent Lens series on PBS.

In addition to her work with Trilogy, Summer was production manager and second assistant director for CONCUSSION, a feature film selected for the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Summer also deftly adapts her film production skills as tour manager for Natalie Merchant — the critically acclaimed vocalist and former frontwoman for the alternative rock band 10,000 Maniacs.

Summer was a tape producer for GOOD MORNING AMERICA and, from 2002 to 2004, she was the production manager for Havoc Films, the production company of Academy Award-winning actor and director Tim Robbins.

In addition to filmmaking, Summer holds a degree from The French Culinary Institute and has worked at some of New York’s best restaurants.

Amanda Goscinski

Amanda Goscinski

Associate Producer

Amanda Goscinski is the Associate Producer for Trilogy Films. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Rutgers University in May 2011 with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication. She has worked as a freelance assistant for Ntropic, a post-production company in New York City, and has interned for Life & Style Magazine, MTV Networks, and Xanga.com. For the past several years, she has also worked with her colleague, Ryan Polukord, on several short films including DANGER ZONE, GLASS DIAMOND, and CAMP 139. The short film, CAMP 139, in which Amanda co-produced and starred in, was an official selection in the 2010 Garden State Film Festival and won “Best New Jersey Based Short Film” in the 2011 Downbeach Film Festival. Amanda joined the Trilogy Films team in 2012, and has been an integral part in the development of their upcoming films, TRAPPED and NEW JIM CROW. She has also successfully helped with the film festival circuit and outreach plan for the award-winning GIDEON’S ARMY, and has assisted with the completion and deliverable process of their new film, SPIES OF MISSISSIPPI.

Matt Cowan

Matt Cowan

Editor

Matt Cowan brings a diverse skill set and unique aesthetic to the Trilogy team. A musician and composer, he understands that, like music, editing requires precision and discipline but ultimately comes down to telling a story and making an emotional connection with an audience.

As editor, he's best known for CRAZY & THEIF, an award-winning indy feature by acclaimed director and Sundance Institute alum Cory McAbee. Its awards include Best of The Year 2012 (UK) Forbidden Planet International and the New Visions Petit Format Award at the Sitges International Film Festival in Sitges, Spain. It was also named one of Indiewire's top undistributed films of 2012.

In addition to his work at Trilogy Films, Matt produces music and promotional videos for various artists, composes original music for film, and performs worldwide as a freelance saxophonist.

Nadja Thomas

Nadja Thomas

Assistant Editor / Production Assistant

Nadja is a recent graduate of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.

To her, journalism is about telling stories. Nadja is always searching for the story behind the characters she encounters, looking for narratives in unlikely places — she has a fervent interest in the visual arts, a passion for storytelling and a penchant for photography that she developed while taking a film photography class at her alma mater Temple University.

Most of Nadja's academic background is within the field of science, in pursuit of an admittedly misguided dream to become a physical therapist. She soon realized that the formulaic world of science was not for her. However, the rehabilitative world has given Nadja an eye and feel for shape, form, symmetry and movement — elements that cross-fertilize her writing, photography and video storytelling.

Nadja was born on the Windward island of Dominica and has lived various places in the United States, giving her a breadth of diverse everyday living.

Bryce Kirchoff

Bryce Kirchoff

Communications & Web



Bryce Kirchoff has produced communication campaigns for organizations at all levels of the media industry and managed dozens of successful audience engagement initiatives. He has launched and optimized websites, crafted multiplatform promotional strategies, and enhanced content management systems for a wide variety of entities. His clients and previous employers include ABC Television, Court TV, Big Mouth Productions, and the National Center for Media Engagement.

Since 2010, Bryce has worked with independent filmmakers to manage outreach campaigns and develop social media strategies that maximize and measure the impact of media. He has coordinated marketing strategies for projects premiering at a range of film festivals, including Sundance, Tribeca, HotDocs and True/False.

From 2009-11, Bryce was the production and social media manager at the National Center for Media Engagement (NCME), where he independently launched all aspects of NCME’s social media presence Bryce knows the public media landscape well, having produced more than 50 professional development webinars for local NPR and PBS stations that focused on everything from emerging content, to online trends, to grant opportunities. He holds a master’s of science degree from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.


CONTACT US

Tell us something good.

Trilogy Films
8 Hillside Ave, LL1
Montclair, NJ 07042

 973.744.0856

info@trilogy-films.com

Receive e-news updates