Filming in August 2016 in Malaysia for series of short films in collaboration with  CADPA (Coalition for the Abolition of Death Penalty in ASEAN) . #EndCrimeNotLife. Photo Credit: Adrian Danciu

Filming in August 2016 in Malaysia for series of short films in collaboration with CADPA (Coalition for the Abolition of Death Penalty in ASEAN). #EndCrimeNotLife. Photo Credit: Adrian Danciu

About Us

Emergence Pictures is the home for documentary media content by award-winning filmmaker Dawn Mikkelson. 

Drawn to the stories of ordinary people who choose to be extraordinary, frequent contributor for Twin Cities PBS (TPT), 2018 and 2015 Emmy Award winning producer, and 2010 McKnight Filmmaking Fellow, Dawn Mikkelson’s work has broadcast and screened internationally. Festival screenings include: the Galway Film Fleadh, Cambridge Film Festival, International Documentary Festival Amsterdam, DocuFest Atlanta, Leipzig DOK Market, American Indian Film Festival, Planet in Focus, and Washington DC Environmental Film Festival. Mikkelson has completed five award-winning independent feature documentaries, The Red TailGreen Green WaterTHIS obedienceand Treading Water: a documentary, which illuminate larger societal issues while creating understanding through the intimate stories of individuals. Her fifth feature documentary Risking Light premiered in competition at the 2018 Cinequest Film & VR Festival and has screened to full houses at a growing list of film festivals including Cleveland International Film Festival and Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival. 

A former television news reporter at an ABC affiliate, Mikkelson has taught Documentary Film as Adjunct Faculty at Ottawa University in Kansas, as well as at Film North. In 2006 Mikkelson’s film, Hope for Recovery: Understanding Mental Illness (produced in collaboration with Twin Cities Public Television and NAMI-MN) won the Eric Sevareid Award by the Northwest Broadcast News Association (NBNA). She now serves as Broadcast Content Manager at WDSE|WRPT in Duluth, MN.



2019: Risking Light selected of the 2019/2020 “On Screen/In Person” Film Tour of the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation for spring of 2020.

2018: Nature: Walking with Emerson & Thoreau awarded Midwest Regional Emmy. Produced by Dawn Mikkelson, in collaboration with TigerLion Arts, Twelve Plus Media, and Twin Cities PBS.

2018: Risking Light Awarded “Audience Favorite” at Big Lake Film Festival.

2018: Risking Light Selected for "Best of Fest" at Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival.

2018: Risking Light World Premiere in Competition at the 2018 Cinequest Film & VR Film Festival. Listed in Top 10 Films at Cinequest by the San Francisco Chronicle and the Mercury Sun. Listed as Top 3 films at Cinequest by KQED.

2016Risking Light selected for Big Vision Empty Wallet's #KickstartDiversity Program! The program encourages diversity in storytelling at the independent level by supporting projects written, directed, and/or produced by Women, People of Color, and Members of the LGBTQ Community.

2015: Mikkelson awarded Midwest Regional Emmy for producing Late Life: Language of Health for Twin Cities PBS. Also nominated that year, Planting Creativity: Artists, Place & Transit, produced in collaboration with Twin Cities PBS and Springboard for the Arts.

2015: Shaping the Public awarded Best Documentary Short Film, WIFTI Short-Case (Women in Film & Television International Short Film Showcase. Additional festival screenings at Flyway Film Festival and MSPIFF (Minneapolis/St. Paul, International Film Festival).

2012: Short film, Invested Official Selection of Flyway Film Festival.

2011: Short film, SMOOCH wins International Pachamama Award by the Possible Futures Film Contest out of a field of 317 Applicants from 44 countries.

2011: Mikkelson awarded first “The Reel Spotlight” by

2010: Mikkelson receives McKnight Artist Fellowship for Filmmakers.

2009: The Red Tail Premiere at the Galway Film Fleadh, Ireland. Additional festival appearances include DOK Leipzig Market, International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), Sheffield Doc/Fest Videotheque, Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival, Reel Work May Day Labor Film Festival.

2008: Green Green Water airs on Public Television & screens at international water conference in Zaragoza, Spain.

2006: Green Green Water World Premiere at imagineNative Film Festival in Toronto and US Premiere at the American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco.

2006: Hope for Recovery: Understanding Mental Illness. Eric Sevareid Award by the Northwest Broadcast News Association (NBNA). Produced in collaboration with PBS Twin Cities  (TPT) and the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill of MN (NAMI-MN).

2005/2006: Green Green Water invited to screen as a work-in-progress at the Washington DC Environmental Film Festival, the City Pages: Get Real Documentary Film Festival, and the Yukon International Film Festival.

2005: Green Green Water Vlog (Video Blog) selected by iTunes as one of its Featured Podcasts.

2005: THIS obedience picked up by American Public Television for national broadcast distribution on PBS.

2004: Mikkelson named to AV Multimedia Producer’s Top Producer Showcase, a national list of 30 producers who are “creative and doggedly resourceful pros who make what they do seem effortless”

2003: THIS obedience . Audience Award for Best Feature Documentary at the Central Standard Film Festival.

2003: Saints and Reformers Award from Lutherans Concerned/Twin Cities for THIS obedience .

2002: Treading Water: a documentary . Grand Jury Prize for Best Feature Documentary by an Emerging Filmmaker at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival.

2002: THIS obedience . Awarded a Women in Film Fund Finishing Grant. Only Midwestern selection.