Paisley Smith is a Canadian filmmaker & virtual reality creator from Vancouver, British Columbia, the traditional, ancestral, unceded territory of the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh, and Squamish First Nations.
Paisley is the creator of Unceded Territories with artist and activist Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, and Homestay, produced by the National Film Board of Canada. Homestay is the recipient of ‘Best XR’ for Change at the Games for Change Festival 2019.
Paisley began her career in innovation, worldbuilding, and VR with Alex McDowell and Nonny de la Peña, pioneers of immersion and world design, respectively.
Paisley received an MFA from the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts in Television and Film Production, and was awarded the Fred Rogers Memorial Scholarship from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Foundation, the Tomlinson Holman Scholarship in Cinematic Arts from USC Lambda LGBT Association, and the Fulbright Scholarship.
Paisley is a Senior Civic Media Fellow at the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab. Paisley leads the Unity for Humanity Program at Unity Technologies.
Paisley uses worldbuilding skills to design solutions for deeper connection, and to imagine our Feminist Future.
Hi, I'm Paisley.
It's nice to meet you!
I make immersive films that people can touch, feel and move through. This experience creates highly engaged, attentive audiences.
I believe we can use technology to connect more deeply with ourselves, and the world around us.
The stories I tell are guided by my belief that if we are honest about our own experiences - the good, the bad, and the vulnerable – we can make a positive change in the world:
With Homestay, I wanted audiences to think about how we understand family and cultural differences, and to share my personal, and frustrating, experience of coming to terms with suicide and grief.
Art VR works of the 1980's inspired me to work with Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun on Unceded Territories. This project is about standing in solidarity with First Nations and Indigenous people fighting for climate justice.
My partner, designer Caitlin Conlen and I, lead Feminist Futures, a world building workshop where we design, build, and create the stories for an intersectional, feminist utopian future. This design-thinking process can be used to create fiction and also solve real world issues.
I directed Peace, Daal, & Partition, a documentary about 3 generations of women in my family, and impact of the Partition of India and Pakistan in 1947 and recently produced Beyond Unceded Territories.
I am passionate about community. I started Virtual Reality Girls in 2015 as a space to connect with, and showcase women working in emerging technology. VRG has evolved, joined forces, and grown into its own universe – Women in VR/AR, a thriving community of over 10K people.
I often lead workshops, teach, and share my films with others both digitally and at face-to-face gatherings and festivals.
Access to VR and emerging technology during the pandemic has been a challenge, and has shifted how our community makes and shares work. I have written about the impact of the pandemic on immersive industry creatives here.
I lead the Unity for Humanity Program at Unity Technologies, which empowers social impact creators to make groundbreaking, powerful RT3D work.
Thank you so much for stopping by!