Ela Thier

1971 –
Airing Foreign Letters (2012) on Wednesday, Oct. 28 at 8:15 AM on TCM

“I became a filmmaker because I taught filmmaking,” writes Ela Thier, an award-winning independent director-producer-writer-actor and film instructor, whose work has appeared in over 140 festivals worldwide. Thier chooses to shoot films with crews who are often made up of her students, and with budgets that are financed through the crowdfunding site Kickstarter, as she did in the summer of 2009 when she decided that she was going to direct her first feature. “I didn’t care if all I had was 20 bucks and a friend with a camera, I was done waiting around for a sexist industry to take me seriously.” 

In 2017, Thier’s film Tomorrow Ever After, a comedy-drama about the arrival of a time traveler from a future Earth where “caring rather than greed governs society” won several awards at major film festivals. She has been awarded several grants, including The Jerome Foundation Film Production Grant and the NYFA Fellowship Grant in Screenwriting. Ela Thier teaches workshops in filmmaking at the Independent Film School, where she tells her prospective students, “My world would be a better place if your creativity, passions and stories ended up on the screen.”

Select Filmography

A Summer Rain (2009)
Foreign Letters (2012)
Top of the World (2012)
Tomorrow Ever After (2016)
Bad Writing (2019)