About Us

Academy Award® and Emmy Award® winning filmmakers Tia Lessin and Carl Deal founded Elsewhere Films in 2007 to create documentary films of cultural relevance, social purpose and artistic integrity, and to strategically distribute these films to maximize their social and community impact.

Carl and Tia are the Producers and Directors of Trouble the Water, winner of the Gotham Independent Film Award and Grand Jury Prizes at the Sundance Film Festival and the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. Trouble the Water was named one of the top ten documentaries of the year by The New Yorker, Salon.com,  Entertainment Weekly, Los Angeles Times and New York magazine and was called “endlessly moving….magnificent” by Time and “The best American documentary in recent memory” by The New York Times. They were also nominated for an Oscar, and NAACP Image Award, and PGA awards for their work on Trouble the Water.

Tia, along with Emma Pildes, directed the feature length documentary The Janes, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2022, aired on HBO, and received three Emmys: Best Documentary, Best Director, and Best Social Issue Documentary.

Tia and Carl also directed and produced (along with Gillian Caldwell) Citizen Koch, which documented the rise of the Tea Party that laid the foundation for the election of Donald Trump, and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was shortlisted for an Academy Award. They have also produced several of Michael Moore’s films, among them: Fahrenheit 9/11, winner of the Palme d’Or, Academy Award ®-winning Bowling for Columbine, Capitalism: A Love Story, Where To Invade Next, and Fahrenheit 11/9.

In television, Tia was line producer of Martin Scorsese’s No Direction Home: Bob Dylan and received two Emmy nominations for her work as producer of the critically acclaimed television series The Awful Truth. She won the Sidney Hillman Prize for Broadcast Journalism for her directorial debut Behind the Labels, produced in partnership with the human rights group WITNESS.

Carl and Tia have received grants from Chicken & Egg, Cinereach, Creative Capital, Ford Foundation’s JustFilms, Fork Films, the MacArthur Foundation, Kindle Project, Pare Lorentz Documentary Fund, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program, Jewish Story Partners, The Threshold Fund, Bertha Foundation and The Fledgling Fund. Their work has been recognized for its social and political impact and has played widely theatrically and on television and digital platforms (HBO, National Geographic, Ch. 4 UK, NETFLIX, iTunes, Amazon, Oxygen and PBS).