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Katrina: An Unnatural Disaster - Home
Fellow: Tia Lessin

Tia Lessin and her partner Carl Deal are producers and directors of Trouble the Water. Lessin also directed and produced Behind the Labels in partnership with Peter Gabriel's human rights group Witness. She was awarded the Sidney Hillman Prize for Broadcast Journalism for the documentary short about labor trafficking of Chinese and Filipina garment workers.

Lessin was the supervising producer of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, winner of the Palme d'Or, Academy Award-winning Bowling for Columbine, and The Big One. She also was line producer of Martin Scorsese's No Direction Home: Bob Dylan. In television, Lessin's work as producer of the series The Awful Truth, which the Los Angeles Times called "the smartest and funniest show on television," earned her two Emmy nominations and one arrest.

One of Lessin's first assignments in film was interviewing survivors of the Wounded Knee massacre as associate producer for Charles Guggenheim's Oscar-nominated film Shadows of Hate. The film is still being distributed free to high schools around the country as part of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Teaching Tolerance curriculum.

Lessin was born and raised in Washington, D.C. Her mother, a Jewish refugee who escaped Poland months before the Nazi invasion, left her extended family behind in the Lodz ghetto, never to be heard from again. Raised by a woman whose family and community were destroyed, Lessin understands that the tragedy of Katrina will impact generations to come.


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