Inga Smith (nee Vainshtein) immigrated to the U.S. from her native Russia when she was 14 years old. She graduated from Princeton University with a degree in Computer Science before making her way to Hollywood. Smith was a VP of Production at Paramount and Simpson & Bruckheimer, overseeing the development and production of films such as the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Specialist, Sliver, The Brady Bunch Movie, and The Crow.
She has worked directly with top talent such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Keanu Reeves, Sean Penn and Sharon Stone. Smith discovered singer/songwriter Jewel in 1993 and went on to guide her career. In 2016, Smith and her longtime producing partner, Russian filmmaker Ilya Naishuller, launched their own production company, Versus Pictures, which signed with CAA in 2021.
How Inga Smith discovered a small town talent with a big voice: