Biography & Filmography
is an award-winning filmmaker and media artist who believes in the power of film and painting for advocacy, change, and beauty.
Since Smith graduated from Stanford University (B.A. in Urban Design), she has lived and worked in New York, India, Nepal, London, and North Carolina.
Her creativity and visual style have attracted clients from all over the world. She has produced, directed, and worked on programs for Columbia Pictures, PBS, BBC, Discovery Channel, Discovery Health, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Katonah Museum of Art, the Sarcoma Foundation of America and John Hopkins University. Her commissions and installations have focused on art, creativity, health, and cultural politics. Smith has produced short and feature-length documentaries, public service announcements, music videos, nationally broadcast commercials, promos, event openers, television series, web media and graphics.
Smith is most proud of a BBC Correspondent documentary she produced which helped change Nepalese law. The documentary, about a rape victim unfairly imprisoned for having an abortion, aided an international effort to free the fourteen-year old subject of the film from prison. The film was instrumental in amending Nepalese law, and won the Amnesty International Media 2000 Award for television news.
Artist and filmmaker Vanessa Hedwig Smith premieres her collection of 95 short films, The Art of Impermanence, at the Palazzo Mora in Venice May through November 2017. Part of the international group show Personal Structures – open borders, Smith’s work explores the fragility and randomness of life, as well as the finality of death. The show brings together noteworthy artists from around the world to heighten awareness about philosophical themes in contemporary art and was organized by the Global Art Affairs Foundation.
Dr. Janet Hibbs and Dr. Anthony Rostain, Director/Producer
Co -Authors of The Stressed Years of Their Lives. 16 short films that deal with the book’s insights about mental health, stressed parents, overwhelmed kids, and college readiness, in a time of pandemic and protest.
Bedford 2020 – Director/Producer
A series of marketing PSAs about consumption and environmental issues created for social media.
Various short marketing films about Patek Phillipe watches and clocks.
Women2Women W2W – Director/Producer
Short film about W2W – a program for visiting women inmates at the Bedford Hills Maximum Security Prison.
Buz Abrams M. D. Director/Producer
Short films about this ER doctor on the front lines of COVID 19.
The Bedford Playhouse Director/Producer
Various marketing shorts and PSAs with handmade/animated graphic elements.
*Films for the Inaugural Antigua & Barbuda Architectural Pavilion at the 2018 Venice Biennale – (May – November 2018) – Director/Producer/Camera.
*Frederick Hammersley By Himself
Smith’s original footage of Frederick Hammersley included in the New Mexico PBS – KNME – TV production.
*U Htein Lin – Mr. Bright and Shiny – Director/Producer.
Film about the Burmese artist, Htein Lin, who spent 6 and one half years in prison without a fair trial. One of the prison guards smuggled art supplies into him and it allowed Htein Lin to document what happened to him in prison. The film is a picture of incarceration and forgiveness.
Runner up for” From the Heart” Documentary.
Screened at the Wathann Film Festival, Yangon, Myanmar (August 2018).
*Karmic screens “The Art of Impermanence.”
10 shorts shown through Karmic and Sara Arnell.
*Ushio and Noriko Shinohara – Director/Producer/Camera.
A video installation at the Katonah Museum of Art. Ushio paints.
*Gala Video – KMA Honorees – Director/Producer.
The Katonah Museum of Art. A film about three extraordinary women.
*Palos Verdes Estates – Director/Producer/Cinematographer (DP).
A film about the visionary planning of the city of Palos Verdes Estates and its early concentration on conserving nature and open space.
*BigCityMusik – Director/Producer.
Music Video of four emerging music talents.
*Master Printmaker John Lund and Jasper Johns – Director/Producer.
John Lund elaborates on process and collaboration.
The Katonah Museum of Art.
*Where Does Art Want to Be? – Director/Producer.
The animated video shows that art wants to be at The Katonah Museum of Art.
The Katonah Museum of Art in New York.
*Daniel Patrick Moynihan – Director/Producer.
Moynihan film highlights for the Moynihan Prize dinner.
Worked with Tom Kecskmethy – The American Academy of Political and Social Science.
*Stepitup – Director/Producer.
Music video about food waste/recycling in the New York City school system.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
*His Holiness the Dalai Lama Visits the University of San Diego -Director/Producer.
Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice.
*ARTTREK – Director/Producer.
Children create a peace project for His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice.
*OVERPOPULATION – Director/Producer/Writer/Cinematographer (DP)
Graphic short film about overpopulation – translated into 6 languages, – with Nick Gutfreund/Producer for Long Run Media.
*Frederick Hammersley – Don’t Let the Screen Door Slam -Director/Producer.
The late Frederick Hammersley was a gentle giant of a painter who left behind a saturated, geometric world of art in his work.
*Congressional Gold Medal Award – 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.
Produced and covered events for the U.K. independent film entitled The Unwinking Eye.
*Free Tibet Now – Director/Producer.
Music video made for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games to raise awareness about the conditions in Tibet. Song written and performed by Liberation Dakini.
*Women Behind the Camera/Shooting Women – Executive Producer/Associate Producer/Camera.
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; and 2006 Accolade Winner Award of Excellence. Rafael Film.
*The Hospital – Emergency Room Director/Producer/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 (now Figure 8 Films) for The Discovery Channel.
*Nepal: Rape, Abortion, Prison – Producer.
Correspondent segment describes the plight of Nepalese women and abortion. Girls and women are imprisoned up to 20 years. Winner – Amnesty International Media Award 2000 for Television News.
*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.