The Floating Man

Digital video, 2022
Director & Writer: Michael V. Smith
Producer: Michael V. Smith
Cast: John Greyson, Dr. Emma Lind, Emmett MacMillen, Shimshon (Eviah) Obadia
Editor: Sarah Hedar
Sound mix & music: Dave Chick
Duration: 77min

Synopsis:  In this intimate self-portrait, Michael V. Smith’s The Floating Man sources his art practice to examine a lifetime of untrue stories about his body. Beginning with interviews in his hometown, and moving forward through mentors (such as queer filmmaker John Greyson) and then students of his own, Smith explores the kaleidoscope of a body’s relationship with gender.

Running parallel in a second through-line is footage from a disastrous art project Smith attempted in 2005: dressed as Peanut the Dancing Clown, Smith hitch-hiked from Vancouver to the Sunshine Coast over the Canada Day long weekend, in search of celebrated artist Joni Mitchell.

Bringing together Smith’s photography, performance, and film practice, The Floating Man unpacks Smith’s gender journey, with his signature vision of iconic imagery.

The Hook Up, an NFB short

Digital video, 2019
Director & Writer: Michael V. Smith
Producer: Justine Pimlott
Cast: Paul Wong, Colin Thomas, Josh Gradilone, Otto Chan
Duration: 6:24
The Hook Up is an experimental doc featuring four gay men from two different generations: two nearing age 70 and two 20-somethings. Striking close-up visuals create a powerful sense of intimacy and connection as the men discuss how hooking up has (and has not) evolved for gay men.




The Common Fag

Digital video, 2018
Director: Denise Kenney
Writer/producer: Michael V. Smith
Cast: Michael V. Smith
Duration: 4:22

Collaborators Kenney and Smith’s cheeky ‘nature doc’ short outlines the being that is ‘the Common Fag,’ here on the banks of Okanagan Lake. “As we can see here, however, despite this adaptive behaviour which accommodates the square lines and beige surfaces, the common fag is not an obvious fit with the box. The box, though, is nevertheless a defining feature for the Common Fag—both due to his birth into it, and his long process of separation from it.”

In the Okanagan, Smith and Kenney facilitate cultural events to bring together the queer community with the broader population in the Okanagan valley, creating a queer-friendly space, bent on exposing and eliminating stigma. They have also worked with the Syrian community, environmental activist groups, the Living Positive Resource Centre and other local organizations to foster collaboration among residents and artists from diverse disciplines to create original art that intervenes in public spaces, to challenge cultural products, and to redefine community.

The Common Fag from Denise Kenney on Vimeo.


Digital video, 2007
Director: Michael V. Smith
Writer/producer: Michael V. Smith
Cast: Michael V. Smith
Duration: 5:40
Screenings to date: Centre for Contemporary Art, Glasgow, 2010; Enzaubert Festival, Berlin, 2010; Bildweschel, Butt Club, Hamburg, 2010; Vauxhall Tavern, London, 2010; Mini-Entzaubert Festival, Berlin, 2009; Rhino in the Room Festival, Lethbridge AB 2009; Queer Lisboa, Portugal Sept 2009; Mix, NYC 2008; Inside Out, Toronto ON 2008; Open-Ended Festival of Time-Based Media, Richmond VA 2008; London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, London UK, April 2008; Out On Screen, Vancouver BC, 2007

Continuing his performance-based documentary work, Michael V. Smith has created a confessional nude dance video. Invitation chronicles the artist’s relationship to his body, welcoming the audience to celebrate and bear witness.

Invitation Still


Body. Cake. Lake.

Digital video, 2013
Director & producer: Michael V. Smith
Concept and Creation: Julia Prudhomme & Michael V. Smith
Performer: Julia Prudhomme
Duration: 2:50
Walking nude along the dusty railroad tracks of life, a woman loves up her Body once she discovers a sweet decorous Cake in her path. She dances to her own whistled tune, then steps into the nearby Lake, frenzied with cake lust. An innocent film, Body. Cake. Lake. celebrates sensuality as gloriously monstrous.

Body. Cake. Lake. from Michael V. Smith on Vimeo.

Two Peanuts

Digital video, 2006
Director: Michael V. Smith
Writer/producer: Michael V. Smith
Photography: Michael V. Smith
Duration: 4:35

Screenings to date: Flicks International Flim Festival for Young People, Saskatoon SK 2008; Fairy Tales, Calgary AB, 2008; Fabulous Festival of Fringe Film, Durham ON, 2007; Three Dollar Bill Cinema, Seattle WA, 2007; Fairy Tales, 2007; Community Hero Awards, Vancouver BC, 2007; Out On Screen, Vancouver BC, 2006

Peanut the Dancing Clown searches a busy city street for a friend to join him in some fun. Equal parts documentary, music video, and performance art, the film has everyone asking: will Peanut be alone forever?

In a hybrid work, mixing documentary, streetside performance art, music video and DIY experimental video techniques, Michael V. Smith’s clown character, Peanut, plays with expectations as much as his unwitting audience.


The Near-perfect Wedding

Super 8 film transfer to digital video, 2007
Director: Michael V. Smith
Writer/producer: Michael V. Smith
Duration: 1:33

Screenings to date: Entzaubert DIY Festival, Berlin 2010; Trannyfest, San Francisco 2008; Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival 2008; Out On Screen, Vancouver 2008

What do you need to make the perfect trans lesbian interfaith Jewish wedding? The Near-Perfect Wedding, a DIY Super8 short, will explain all.

Wolf Lake (by Bachinsky)

Super 8 film transfer to digital video, 2006
Director: Michael V. Smith
Writer: Elizabeth Bachinsky
Producer: Michael V. Smith
Cast: Amber Dawn
Duration: 4:15

Screenings to date: Screenings: Festival International de Film et Video de Creation, Beyrouth/Beirut, 2010; Festival Signes de Nuit, Paris France, 2008; Out on Screen, Vancouver BC 2008; Vancouver Int’l Film Festival, Vancouver BC, 2007; Lincoln Center New York Video Festival, New York City, 2007; Edges Festival, Victoria BC, 2007; Project8, Video In Studios, Vancouver BC, 2006

In a dramatized narrative written and told by Canadian poet Elizabeth Bachinsky, a young woman speaks of her ordeal at Wolf Lake. The Coast Mountains of British Columbia make a lush backdrop to her harrowing story of violence and betrayal. Wolf Lake is from Elizabeth Bachinsky’s excellent collection Home of Sudden Service, Nightwood Editions, 2006.

Wolf Lake – Bachinsky version from Michael V. Smith on Vimeo.

Wolf Lake (by Rader)

Digital video, 2013
Director: Michael V. Smith
Writer: Matt Rader
Producer: Michael V. Smith
Duration: 4:15

In this version of Wolf Lake, the original poem ‘Wolf Lake’ by Matt Rader examines the loss of innocence when two teenage boys in the woods stumble upon a man pulling a woman out of the trunk of his car.

Shot with an early model, low-end digital camera, Wolf Lake (Matt Rader) is the first in a trio of films by the same title, each with a different voiceover text from three characters’ perspectives. Poet Matt Rader narrates his text, the poem ‘Wolf Lake’, from Miraculous Hours (2005), published by Nightwood Editions.

Wolf Lake – Rader version from Michael V. Smith on Vimeo.

I Love My Friend

Digital video, 2013
Writer/producer: Michael V. Smith
Cast: Tanja Woloshen
Duration: 3:20

I Love My Friend: Part of the Tribute series by Michael V. Smith, I Love My Friend features butoh performer Tanja Woloshen walking on hands down a long sterile corridor. The voiceover text speaks to the struggles of a cancer patient, whose approach to her 20lb tumour does away with sugar-coated optimism, for a more sober reality.


Digital video, 2004
Cast: Michael V. Smith
Writer/producer: Michael V. Smith
Voice-over: Dawn Petten
Camera: Skippy’s Kitchen

Screenings to date: OutTV, Hot Pink Shorts, 2009; “Her Lens: Explorations in Media Art” educational compilation, 2007; Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, 2005; Nederlands Transgender Filmfestival, Amsterdam, 2005; University of Oregon Queer Film Festival, WA, 2005 – Third Prize Jury’s Choice; Nashville Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, TN, 2004; Reeling, Chicago, 2004; Outlook, Dublin, 2004; Out On Screen, Vancouver, BC, 2004; Alerte rose sur la ville, Geneva, 2004; InsideOUT, Toronto, 2004

Director Smith examines the reasons why he likes to wear pink.



Digital video, 5 mins, 2001
Distribution: Video Out
Cast: Miss Cookie LaWhore, Rob Ahrens, John Finlay
Director: Nickolaos Stagias
Writer/producer: Michael V. Smith

Screenings to date: Counting Past 2, Toronto, ON, 2002; Homoagogo, Olympia, WA, 2002; Seattle Three Dollar Bill Cinema, WA, 2002; image+ Nation Festival, Montreal, QC, 2002; Frameline Festival, San Francisco, CA, 2002; Inside Out Festival, Toronto, ON, 2002; PrideVision TV, Toronto, ON, 2001; Electrolit Centre Videopoem Festival, Vancouver, BC, 2001; Out On Screen Festival, Vancouver, BC, 2001

This three part video is an intimate portrait of desire and desirability. Miss Cookie LaWhore plays a trannie prostitute getting ready at home, walking the streets, and servicing a john in his car.

Text Excerpt from Femme:

I Like the Small Town, Blue Collar Types
Men like that have it easy, don’t they? 
Maybe they get down in the dumps, the wife leaves them 
then the girlfriend calls it quits, kids show 
no respect, dog runs away from home. They lose their jobs, 
stop shaving, & go to strip clubs for the only 
good time they’ve had in months.
God knows
I suffer from the grass is always greener, but isn’t that easy?
I’d love to have a wife to leave me, kids to call me names 
or a mutt that takes off barking, Find yourself
a new best friend, buddy. I’m outta here.
Yeah well, I’m not much of a handful
& maybe I got a lot of woman in me I call her Cookie, 
you can too but tell the truth: Wouldn’t 
these legs look great extending three 
slim feet below the too
too short hem of a dress?
Picture it: A street corner. Down-
town. Lots of lights. The wind picks up & I grab my shoulders 
& rub. Brrr. I’m waiting for any old 
vehicle to pull up when a horn 
beepbeeps amid the general din of the street.
I turn. The window’s down on a 60s blue Chevy, the grille 
a mouthful of chrome.
Hey little lady, he says & winks like only
he knows how. You don’t have to ask twice
before I’m in the front seat kissing vinyl
to my tight ass, cos’ man, he’s as close 
as I’m gonna get.



Digital video, 4.5 mins, 2003
Distribution: Video Out
Director/editor: Nickolaos Stagias
Writer: Michael V. Smith

Screenings to date: Visible Voices, Vancouver, BC, 2004; Diversa Films, Buenos Aires, Argentina. 2004; Int’l Film Festival of Sexuality & Gender Plurality, Bombay 2004; Outlook, Dublin, 2004; Turin Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, 2004; Signal and Noise, Vancouver, BC, 2004; Festival MIX Brasil, 2003; University of Oregon Queer Film Festival, WA, 2003 ­– Honourable Mention; Portland Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, Portland, OR, 2003; Out On Screen Festival, Vancouver, BC, 2003; Inside Out Festival, Toronto, ON, 2003

A four-part video poem sequence, sibling to ‘femme’, examines the other side of the duality. You’re never more butch than when you’re out cruising.


B&W Digital video, 15 mins, 2000
Distribution: Video Out
Cast: Richard Stroh, Calvin Martens
Director/editor: Nickolaos Stagias
Writer/producer: Michael V. Smith
Music: Steve Hagen
Screenings to date: Out On Screen, Aug 2000

A one night stand starts out promisingly enough. But when young urban Cooper gets mistaken for a hustler by his married trick Larry, things take a turn for the worse.


GIRL ON GIRL – A Documentary

17 minute docu-porn
Canada 2004

This short film, featuring Miss Cookie in compromising positions, premiered in Out On Screen, Vancouver’s Queer Film and Video Festival, fall 2004 and was the recipient of ZED’s People’s Choice Award for best short film. In spring 2005, Girl on Girl swept both shorts categories in the Inside Out Queer Film and Video Festival in Toronto (winning both best short by a male director and best short by a female director) and then won the Miss Nomers a Community Heroes Award in Vancouver. See what all the fuss is about…

What do you get when you mix a drag performer, a sex artist, a film-maker and a few broken taboos? A sex documentary like you’ve never seen before.

Created, directed and edited by the Miss Nomer Collective, consisting of Dawn, Smith, and video artist lisa g, Girl on Girl also features an original score (“a blessing, a marrying of the sexes”) by Toronto trans composer/performer Dana Baitz.

In his alter ego as Miss Cookie LaWhore, Canadian novelist Michael V. Smith gives up his hetero-virginity to performance artist & sex worker Amber Dawn in Girl on Girl: a documentary.  A Canadian first, this 17-minute documentary porn video won the Zed People’s Choice Short Film Award at its world premier at the Out On Screen Film & Video Festival, 2004.

Shot on mini-DV, Girl on Girl is a candid documentary that humanizes sex as it battles the social stigma of being sexual.  Touching on hot buttons such as the exploitation of women in the mainstream porn industry, shame and body image, sex phobia, and gender ambiguity, Girl on Girl lays bare our shared fear of being sexual and being seen.

Exploring the intersection between sex, gender and identity, Girl on Girl invites us to ask: What determines gender identity?  Is it the clothes we wear, the gender we ascribe to ourselves or what others name us?  Does sexual behaviour dictate sexuality?   Is identity situated in the body, and if not, where?

Don’t miss Girl on Girl, a thoughtful, camp, outrageous, insightful and tender new project that asks us to rethink not just who we do, but who we are.


Bad Ideas video poems

Here are some films using poems from Bad Ideas, made by some amazing friends:

J. SARAGOSA’s I Dream of Inadequacy  (Video is private, please use the password: raven)


Emily MacMillen and Shimshon (Eviah) Obadia’s Prayer for Irony: