Adam James Smith



Adam James Smith
MFA, Stanford University
MPhil, Cambridge University

Office: Boca Raton, CU-97, Office 224
Areas of Expertise: Documentary filmmaking, video journalism, video art, ethnographic and anthropological filmmaking, Chinese documentary film, urbanization in China, replica foreign town developments in China

Adam James Smith is a British documentary filmmaker and Assistant Professor of Multimedia at Florida Atlantic University, where he also advises on video projects at Student Media. Adam is currently an Affiliated Filmmaker at Cambridge University's Visual Anthropology Lab. His film work explores the development of new towns and cities, and the creation and expression of identity in these new places. His first feature film, The Land of Many Palaces, unveils the process of farmers being relocated into the new city of Ordos, Inner Mongolia, and how they go about adapting to urban life. The film was co-directed with Chinese filmmaker Song Ting and participated in the 2013 Sundance Institute workshop. The Land of Many Palaces premiered at the 2015 Santa Barbara International Film Festival and then went on to screen at festivals around the world, picking up awards in Moscow, Rome and Kyoto. Adam also embarked on an academic tour in North America, screening at Harvard, Columbia, Duke, Stanford, the Asia Society and many more universities and organizations.

A trailer and screening list for the film can be viewed here.

An article on the issues the film covers, written by the filmmaker for The Guardian, can be read here.

An interview with the filmmakers for The Wall Street Journal can be read here.

Adam recently completed three new documentary films, also shot in China - Americaville, Fantasy Factory and Nightworld – all of which are set to be released throughout 2019 and 2020. Americaville explores the replica of Jackson Hole, Wyoming built on the outskirts of Beijing and the lives of Chinese residents attempting to live their interpretation of the American dream in the town. The film was sponsored by the Whicker’s Foundation, the Asian Cinema Fund, and the Bruckmann Trust. Fantasy Factory explores, through a series of photoshoots, the dissonance between desired and lived realities against the industrial, rural, and replica-cityscapes of contemporary China. Nightworld follows two daredevils as they scale building at night in the Chinese megacity of Chongqing.

Previously, Adam taught filmmaking at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing and at Cambridge University. He has also worked as a videographer for the Chinese National Academy of Painting, Rabbit Bandini Productions, and Stanford’s Office of Public Affairs. He holds higher degrees from Stanford University and Cambridge University.

Personal website:

Cambridge profile: 



RTV3531 Video Production

JOUR4342 Multimedia Journalism

VIC4943 Multimedia Capstone 

FIL 4364 Documentary Film and Video

RTV 3332C Documentary Video Production

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