Exclusive SnagFilms interview w/ Dawn Mikkelson
1)What prompted you to leave television reporting and go into documentary making?
I am one of the few people who stumbled into television reporting. My background was a combination of performing arts (theater & music) and social justice (political science, nonviolent protest, volunteer work to serve homeless, etc). As a news reporter, I saw how a well-told story framed an issue or experience for an entire community. What was missing was the heart and complexity that can be explored through documentary. I was drawn to the lived experiences of people, rather than the sound bites of politicians and academics. It is through hearing each other’s stories that we are able to understand one another and the issues that we face as a society. The path between TV and independent documentary as a career was not direct either. I spent years working in other capacities and today I make videos for social entrepreneurs and not-for-profit organizations to support my documentary habit. Today I am continually reminded of the power of asking questions and truly listening to one another’s stories. I have seen the impact of those stories on audience members and communities and am honored to be entrusted with them.
2)Why do you choose the stories you choose?
The quick answer is that these are the stories that wake me up in the middle of the