Talent Guide

Elena Greenlee

  • Discipline:Director, Producer, Writer
  • Program Year:Directing Lab 2017, Fast Track 2015, Grants and Awards 2013, Grants and Awards 2015, Producing Lab 2012


Writer/Director Elena Greenlee was born and raised in Brooklyn, and her passion for filmmaking reflects the diversity of her hometown. Fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, she is a narrative filmmaker driven to tell socially relevant stories from underexplored angles, bridging cultures across the Americas.

Greenlee’s first short, “High Season,” was shot in Havana and played festivals and broadcast TV internationally. In Rio de Janeiro she worked with actors from the film City of God to develop a film school serving youth from the favelas.

At NYU’s Tisch Graduate Film School, Greenlee wrote, directed and produced short films including “Mariachi,” which screened at over a dozen festivals across the US, and “Nasceu Maria,” recipient of the Spike Lee Fellowship, Clive Davis Award, and grants from Fotokem, Fuji, and Arri.

In 2012 Greenlee became a Film Independent Producing Fellow for her first feature production, Manos Sucias (dir. Josef Wladyka), executive produced by Spike Lee (Indie Spirit Award Nomination for Best First Feature & Best Editing 2015).

In 2014 Greenlee became a resident at the SFFS FilmHouse where she developed the script for Dark Forest. The project has since been awarded the Film Independent Fast Track Alfred P. Sloan Production award, two San Francisco Film Society / Kenneth Rainin Foundation Grants and participated in the Sundance’s Female Filmmakers Initiative Financing Intensive.

Current Project

Dark Forest


A psychiatrist travels to the jungle searching for her troubled brother who's disappeared from a spiritual retreat serving the psychedelic plant brew ayahuasca. In the complex world of Amazonian shamanism, she encounters unlikely allies and adversaries; and endures mysterious forces that reshape her reality forever.