Artist Projects

Trouble the Water


Carl Deal , Tia Lessin

Academy Award nominated Trouble the Water is at once horrifying and exhilarating. Directed and produced by Tia Lessin and Carl Deal (producers of Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine), the film takes you inside Hurricane Katrina in a way never before seen on screen. With no means to leave the city and equipped with just a few supplies and her hi 8 camera, Kimberly Rivers Roberts and her husband Scott tape their harrowing ordeal as the storm rages, the nearby levee breaches, and floodwaters fill their home and their community in the 9th Ward. Seamlessly weaving this home movie footage with their own production footage and archival news segments, Lessin and Deal go on to document the couple’s two year journey in the aftermath of Katrina and the appalling repeated failures of government, telling a redemptive tale of self-described street hustlers who become heroes—two unforgettable people who survive the storm and then seize a chance for a new beginning.

Project Updates

  • 2011: Trouble the Water is a finalist for the PUMA/Creative Impact Award, which honors and supports “the documentary film that has made the most significant impact on society”

  • 2010: Lessin and Deal launch official Trouble the Water teaching curriculum

  • 2010: Trouble the Water receives two Emmy nominations for its HBO television broadcast

  • 2010: Trouble the Water broadcasts nationally on National Geographic Channel

  • 2010: Trouble the Water screens at Museum of Modern Art in New York as part of Creative Capital film festival

  • 2009: Trouble the Water releases on DVD

  • 2008: Trouble the Water is nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature

  • 2008: Trouble the Water has theatrical release at IFC Center in New York

  • 2008: Trouble the Water is screened at Sundance Institute at BAM in Brooklyn

  • 2008: Trouble the Water is screened at Black Lily Film & Music Festival in Philadelphia

  • 2008: Trouble the Water is screened at the Full Frame Festival in Durham NC

  • 2008: Trouble the Water premieres at Sundance Film Festival in Park City