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Smith received her BA in Urban Design from Stanford University, did coursework at Art Center College of Design and the University of California at La Jolla, and received her MA in Cultural Anthropology from Columbia University in 2006. Smith has lived in India, Nepal, England, and New York and has exhibited widely. Smith speaks French and some Hindi and Spanish.


A producer/director of award-winning documentaries and films, committed to focusing attention on critical issues such as public health, human rights, art, and religion. Extensive experience managing people, projects, and time constraints as well as understanding and meeting the requirements of living and working in the US and abroad. A producer/director who completes projects creatively, on time and within budget.


Smith's paintings are the result of numerous influences and experiences: M.F. Turner's paintings, flea markets and their vendor/storytellers, New York while it rains black green, Le Corbusier's chapel at Ronchamp, a particular lunch with the residents of an insane asylum in France, geography, butterflies, Fred Astaire, the new clean cold that November always seems to bring, kindergarten, billowy pillow clouds, the very wet green grasses of California Aprils, James Bond movies, religious culture, her son's natural birth, her father's death, and of course the color red.

It all comes down to this: people, words, pictures, effort, and chaos

Work experience

Jan 1990Present


Vanessa Smith Film

Selected Media

Women Behind the Camera/Shooting Women  Executive Producer/Associate Producer

Feature length documentary that provides a global view of the world through 

women and their work in cinematography. Winner of 35 awards, including Winner of the 2007

Spirit of Moondance Award, Best Documentary Feature Film; Winner of the Insight Award 2007, 

National Association of Film and Digital Media Artists; 2006 Accolade Winner 

Award of Excellence. Rafael Film. In competition at the first Lady Filmmaker Festival in Los Angeles 2009.

Congressional Gold Medal Award – Camera/Producer 

His Holiness the Dalai Lama was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for his 

many enduring and outstanding contributions to peace, non-violence, human 

rights, and religious understanding. Congressional leaders and President Bush 

presented the Gold Medal to His Holiness in the Capitol Rotunda.  Press conference, 

a concert for peace, and interviews were shot with Tom Lantos and David Crosby. 

Events covered for the U.K. independent film entitled The Unwinking Eye.

Martha Stewart EverydayProducer

Ninety-second vignettes of display and demonstration; promoting a line of kitchen, 

bedroom, and holiday products. Viga Productions Inc. for Martha Stewart Living 


Nepal: Rape, Abortion, Prison Producer

Correspondent segment describes the plight of Nepalese women and abortion.  

Girls and women are imprisoned up to 20 years. Amnesty International Media 

Award for Television News. BBC Correspondent. 

The HospitalProducer/Second Camera

Thirteen-episode TV series presents stories of Duke Hospital’s Emergency Room, 

including patient’s follow up treatment in various departments of the hospital.  

Advanced Medical Productions for The Discovery Channel.

In Search of Kundun India Producer/Archival/Historic Consultant

Feature documentary on the life of the Dalai Lama.  Responsible for all production 

in Dharamsala and New Delhi. Traveled between Los Angeles, New York, 

London, and New Delhi for research, footage, and archival photographs.   

Ray Productions. 

Free Tibet Now - Director/Producer

Music video made for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games to raise awareness about the 

present conditions in Tibet.

Jan 1985Present


Vanessa Smith Painting


2001   Bronwyn Merrit Gallery - "Jack's Green Room."  Chapel Hill, NC

1998   New York Open Center - "Free Speech."  New York, NY

1996   The Village Gallery - "The Light Show."  New Delhi, India

1989  Dome Gallery - "Creation Myth."  New York, NY

1988  Dome Gallery - "Hylozoism."  New York, NY


2004   Zino Contempoary.  Sante Fe, NM

1999   Coins - "Lindisfarne."  London, England

1999   Pasadena Art Alliance - Pasadena, CA

1998   Saxon Lee Gallery - Los Angeles, CA

1997   Broome Street - "Seven Artists."  New York, NY

1996   Hurlbutt Gallery - "Fresh Paint."  Greenwich, CT

1995   Artist's Space - "Night of 1000 Drawings."  New York, NY

1995   AIFACS - "Art for Peace."  New Delhi, India

1995   Daniel Saxon Gallery - "Of Nature and the Human Spirit."  Los Angeles, CA

1994   India International Center - New Delhi, India

1987   Charles Cowles Annex - "Stanford Artists."  New York, NY

1986   Palladium - New York, NY


1997   Through the Eyes of Indian Children - Palos Verdes Art Center, CA. Curated exhibit of Indian Children's Art.

1996   Tibetan Teacher's Workshop - New Delhi, India. Conducted workshop on creativity and environmental concerns.

1995   United Nations Fourth Wolrd Conference on Women - Beijing, China. Conducted workshop on writing, film, and video.

1994   Children's Art from Hobby Center - Los Angeles Junior Art Center, CA. Curated exhibit of Indian Children's Art. 


1986-87   Henri Bendel's, New York, NY

1986         Givenchy, New York, NY. Murals

1985-91   Bloomingdale's, New York, NY. Mural and design work

1985-91   Jay Spectre Inc., New York, NY. Graphics, murals, fabric, and tableware design

Selected Film Clips


Art Center College of Design

After the impressions and immersion that Art Center College of Design gives its students, it is almost impossible to ignore the impact of our visual world. My life changed at Art Center as I learned about the core values of communication, design, perspective, and change.


Stanford University

Through the self-designed Urban Design major, I gained an appreciation for the integration and interaction of all systems local and global. Most memorably, I attended the Stanford program in Tours, France; I jumped off a train going the wrong way, walking up a hill with my sketch pad and lunch pail. All these very overweight, jolly people waddled up to me; we had a memorable afternoon, all in French. Later, I discovered I had perched on a hillside near an insane asylum.


Columbia University in the City of New York

At Columbia I focused on Southeast Asia, a natural choice after having lived and worked in Nepal and India for five years. My attention was also drawn to public health, human rights, sustainability and consumption. For my thesis I wrote a screenplay about food and formulated several documentary proposals, which I am now working on.