Filmmaker Dawn Porter and Attorney Travis Williams Will Speak at 2014 Breakfast
The 33rd annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Prayer Breakfast will be held at 8:30 a.m. January 18, 2014, in the Grand Ballroom of the historic Grove Park Inn & Resort in Asheville, NC. Two keynote speakers—both attorneys—will share the dais: Dawn Porter, founder of Trilogy Films and director of Gideon’s Army, and Travis Williams, featured in the film as one of three public defenders who dedicate their lives and careers to seeking justice for those most in need.
Twelve million people are arrested in the United States each year, most of them without the resources to hire a private attorney. Many turn to public defenders, some of whom handle hundreds of cases at a time. Gideon’s Army follows three young public defenders—including Mr. Williams—in the deep South during their daily mission to help bring justice to America’s criminal justice system.
Dawn Porter is an attorney, founder of Trilogy Films, and producer and director of the film Gideon’s Army, a powerful indictment of America’s criminal justice system that premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and debuted on HBO Documentary Films in July 2013.
An alumna 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. Before becoming a filmmaker Ms. Porter was the Director of News Standards and Practices at ABC News, and Vice President of Standards and Practices at A&E Networks. A graduate of Swarthmore College and the Georgetown University Law Center, she was a practicing attorney at previously practiced at Baker & Hostetler and ABC Television Networks.
Georgia’s 2011 Assistant Public Defender of the Year, Travis Williams has worked as a public defender for five years, and in that job he has won two-thirds of the felony cases he’s tried and been granted five of the 20 appeals he has argued before the Georgia Court of Appeals.Born in Atlanta, GA and taken to a low-income neighborhood in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, to be raised by an aunt, Williams saw and experienced first-hand the encounters between poor people and law enforcement; those experiences informed and shaped his views on justice and instilled in him a desire to become a fighter for the underclass.
Williams set his sights on college, and though he experienced homelessness and struggle while putting himself through school, he excelled academically. He earned a BS in Business Administration from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in 2005, and received his law degree from the University of Georgia Law School in 2008.
Since graduation he has worked for the Hall County, GA Public Defender’s Office and was honored as a “Rising Lawyer Under 50” by the Daily Report. He lives in Gainesville, GA and volunteers with the Boys and Girls Club of Hall County.