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

Originally a full-service production company, Emergence Pictures has narrowed its focus to become the home for documentary film and television 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), 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 four 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 is set to premiere in competition at the 2018 Cinequest Film & VR Festival.

A former television news reporter at an ABC affiliate, Mikkelson often speaks and writes on issues around documentary filmmaking and social justice for MPR (Minnesota Public Radio) and at festival panels, colleges, and universities. Mikkelson has taught Documentary Film as Adjunct Faculty at Ottawa University in Kansas, as well as at IFP Minnesota. 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).


Mikkelson is a partner of Twelve Plus Media

Twelve Plus Media is a partnership of experienced video producers, photographers, writers, editors, graphic designers, sound engineers and tech gurus who have joined forces to provide a one-stop media shop.

With a deep background in video and television production, the company creates award-winning broadcast documentaries, corporate videos, online media, commercials, and nonprofit communications for clients nationwide.

At the heart of our company’s work are the human stories that connect us all. We hope you will allow us to tell yours.



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.