Paisley Smith is Queer Indo-Canadian filmmaker and virtual reality creator from Vancouver, British Columbia. She grew up on the unceded land of the Coast Salish Peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. She lives and works in Los Angeles on the land of the Tongva people.
Paisley Smith is the creator of Homestay, a very personal interactive VR documentary produced by the NFB Interactive, exploring suicide, grief, and cross-cultural understanding. Homestay is the recipient of ‘Best XR’ for Change at the Games for Change Festival 2019. She is the co-director of “Unceded Territories” a VR experience, with artist and activist Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, dealing with climate change and indigenous civil rights. Unceded Territories was supported by the Sundance Institute and the Rauschenberg Foundation, and premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival Immersive 2019. Paisley is a creative producer on “The Under Presents: Tempest,” a theatre adaptation of The Tempest performed live in VR. Paisley is studying the neuroscience of digital distractions – what makes us energized and connected, both online and IRL.
She leads Feminist Futures, a world building workshop with her partner, designer Caitlin Conlen, and collaborator Milo Talwani. In this workshop they teach organizations and individuals how to design, build, and create stories and artifacts from an intersectional, feminist utopian future. This design-thinking process can be used to create fiction and also solve real world issues.
Smith holds an MFA from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. She received her Bachelor of Arts Honours in Film and Media Studies and Art History from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.