Dawn Porter’s career change from attorney to documentary filmmaker was not done for the reason most people leave their jobs.

“I really was happy being a lawyer. And that was the plan, and I was happy with the plan,” she said during a recent interview from her home on Lambert’s Cove. “I think just like a lot of things, you get exposed to something else that you didn’t think could be a job and it just kind of opens up possibility."

Her interest in filmmaking grew when she began working for ABC and later at A&E.

“I just was really interested and excited about storytelling. And, you know, watching folks in the news business do their job, I thought I could do this,” Ms. Porter said with a laugh.

Ms. Porter more than made good on her initial confidence. She has directed documentaries about Cong. John Lewis, White House photographer Peter Souza, Robert Kennedy, voting rights — the list is long and filled with awards. This Saturday her film Rise Again: Tulsa and the Red Summer will be screened at the Martha’s Vineyard Drive-In. A conversation with Ms Porter will precede the film.

Ms. Porter said she likes to pursue films that follow inspiring individuals whose stories capture her heart.

“Making movies is hard, it takes a long time, takes a lot of money. And so you want to do things that really mean something to you. And those are the stories that means something to me.”

“I’m very interested in the process of change, what makes somebody stand up and do something instead of just kind of accepting something that they’re not happy with,” she added. “And so I think a lot of my films are exploring what makes people stand up.”

Rise Again: Tulsa and the Red Summer follows Washington Post journalist DeNeen Brown as she investigates the 1921 Tulsa race massacre and the recent racial reckoning about the event.

“Talking to DeNeen it just kind of struck me that she was really following in the footsteps of so many black journalists and then to have a black female journalist from Oklahoma tell this story just seemed like such a wonderful device for a film,” Ms. Porter said.

“It was really, really important to me that we’d be truthful and honest, and not sensational. And also not to linger in the pain, but also to relate the power of the people targeted.”

Ms. Porter said her attention was often captured by smaller moments in the narrative, which helped to offset some of the pain of the story.

“What struck me the most were the pictures of the soldiers coming home and demanding equality, of the soldier with his daughter on his lap,” she said. “Those are pictures of black life that you don’t always see. And they paint a really different picture of what happened.”

And as her research and filming unfolded, Ms. Porter said the scope of the issue surprised even her.

“I was surprised to know about how many massacres there were. You know, I didn’t know about Elaine, Ark. I didn’t know about Chicago or DC. You know, places that you don’t normally associate with such large scale violence. I think we’re in danger of thinking Tulsa was an outlier when it was part of a series.”

“What I emerged from it with is such a sense of pride,” she added. “That I’m part of a community of people who are always figuring out a way to move, despite the biggest obstacles, and I think that’s great.”

Rise Again: Tulsa and the Red Summer screens at 8:15 on Saturday, July 10 at the Martha’s Vineyard Drive-In, located at the YMCA. Gates open at 7:15 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit driveinmv.com.