E. Lee Smith is a filmmaker hailing from Yucaipa, California; a sleepy town without a movie theater. A latchkey kid from the suburbs, she spent her days reading adult science fiction, writing short stories and looking for trouble.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Cal State Fullerton, where she wrote speculative fiction and rage-poems. In order to fund her 99 Bananas lifestyle, she took myriad odd jobs including gold rush re-enacting, coffee-slinging, fashion production, bikini-bartending, catering, art forgery and studio photography until finally turning her attention to filmmaking when she moved to Brooklyn, NYC in 2007 and joined activist video collective Paper Tiger Television.
While completing her MA at The New School, she wrote, shot and directed her first short film, Thunderbird’s Nest about a budding conspiracy theorist who discovers a portal in his backyard. The film premiered at Anthology Film Archives in 2013 and compelled Werner Herzog to invite her to his Rogue Film School.
E. Lee is currently in pre-production on her next film, Bonanza Gulch, shooting in California in December, 2015.