Pia-Luisa Lenz was born in Herne in 1986. From 2005 until 2009, she studied journalism, linguistics and economy in Dortmund. She worked freelance for the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, and made several shorts on the 2008 US presidential election during a study year abroad. Back in Germany, she attended a master class at the Hamburg Media School between 2009 and 2011.
Already freelancing for Spiegel Online and the NDR network, she became a trainee at the latter, and went on to helm the features "Ohne Öl - Vom Ende des Ölzeitalters" (2010) and "Vergiftet – Wenn Arbeit krank macht" (2011). Lenz' first feature-length documentary "Hudekamp – Ein Heimatfilm" (2013; co-directed by Christian von Brockhausen) was also a NDR production. The film, which portrays tenants of the infamous housing project Hudekamp in Lübeck, won several prizes, including the German Television Award for Best Documentary.
As a journalist and filmmaker, Lenz often focused on refugees' plight and migration, for instance in the TV feature "Mujib –Ohne Eltern auf der Flucht" (2015), which relates the story of a 13-year-old boy from Afghanistan, who was recruited against his will as a suicide bomber by the Taliban and subsequently fled to Germany all on his own.
For her theatrically released documentary "Alles gut" (2016), Lenz accompanied two children from different refugee families over the course of one year, and chronicled their attempts at adapting to a new life in Germany.