client project samples

Produced and/or Directed by Dawn Mikkelson


Nature: Walking with Emerson & Thoreau - 2018

Nature is a documentary created in collaboration with TigerLion Arts, Twelve Plus Media, and Twin Cities PBS, profiling the inspiration and story behind an outdoor play that moves with the audience - each scene capturing the complex friendship between Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, and their shared love of nature. "Nature" begins as the vision of 3 playwrights, including a direct descendant of Emerson, and poetically interweaves a theatrical experience with a deeply spiritual experience, reaching audiences across the U.S, including those in Emerson and Thoreau's home of Concord, MA. This piece serves not only as a testament to the enduring impact of Emerson and Thoreau's work on the American Transcendental and Environmental movements, but also as a reminder of how we are all connected to nature. 

Premiering on Earth Day 2018, this 26-minute documentary received a 2018 Regional Emmy® Award by the Upper Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Directed and Produced by Dawn Mikkelson, the crew filmed intimate interviews with cast, crew, experts and audience members at performances in Minnesota and Concord, MA, home of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.

#EndCrimeNotLife - 2016

Seven part web series for CADPA (Coalition Against Death Penalty in ASEAN) highlighting the stories of those whose loved ones are currently on death row in SE Asia, as well as experts from across the region, to humanize the issue of the death penalty. The series is a part of a much larger regional campaign to abolish the death penalty in SE Asia. Mikkelson was commissioned in May of 2016 to produce this series with a team of international partners. This project would bring Mikkelson and cinematographer Adrian Danciu to the Philippines, Singapore, and Malaysia in August of 2016. In addition Mikkelson coordinated crews in Indonesia and Cambodia to create this series of videos that have been viewed almost 200K times on Facebook alone.

View the whole series here.

Produced for CADPA (Coalition Against Death Penalty in ASEAN) as part of an 7 part series of web videos for their #EndCrimeNotLife Campaign.

Irrigate Series - 2014

In September 2011, Mikkelson teamed with Springboard for the Arts to document a unique artist/community initiative called Irrigate. Over the course of three years, hundreds of artists collaborated with businesses along the Central Corridor Light Rail line during the years of its construction to create artistic experiences. This type of large-scale transit construction historically creates great stress for surrounding neighborhoods and businesses as travel along the corridor and parking are deeply impacted. Irrigate was a creative response to use “artist-led creative placemaking” to draw people back to the corridor during this time.

From the launch of this project, through its completion, Mikkelson documented the Irrigate initiative with eleven web videos and a final 26-minute documentary film Planting Creativity: Artists, Place & Transit highlighting the stories of artists at the heart of Irrigate and the impact of this groudbreaking initiative as a way of informing and educating communities on the power of artist-led creative placemaking. Planting Creativity: Artists, Place & Transit premiered in August 2014 on Twin Cities PBS.

See the whole series including the 26-minute PBS documentary here.

Faced with major light rail construction, neighborhood businesses and artists revitalize distressed communities through art and collaboration in the Irrigate Creative Placemaking project. Hundreds of creative projects, from massive murals to small cabaret performances, change public perception from doom-and-gloom to surprise and possibility. Includes stories from Old Rondo, Little Mekong, and Lowertown.

Xperitas - 2016

In 2015, Mikkelson was commissioned to create videos promoting Xperitas, a rebranded nonprofit resulting from the merger of Global Citizens Network and Intercultural Student Experiences. This commission included a 1-minute agency video and 4-minute agency video to showcase a new brand for the merged organizations, as well as ten country-specific travel videos to promote its programs. This project included filming in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Spain, and Germany, in addition to the Twin Cities.

Watch the entire Xperitas series here.