Matangi/Maya/MIA – the title of Steve Loveridge’s documentary about the famed, if often controversial, music artist – reflects the multiple narratives it explores, from the Sri-Lankan born singer as a pop-culture icon to a political activist, without resting wholly on one over another.

With Loveridge having been friends with Maya since meeting at art school over 20 years ago, it’s an intimate and personal portrait he draws, mining hundreds of hours of home video footage and picking up on the artist’s successes and legacies as well as moments of failing, if holding back from fully interrogating them. Something of a labour of love, it took the director over ten years to complete and even then, on first viewing, Maya was not so taken with the result.

Having already been recognised with the Sundance World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award, Matangi/Maya/MIAis a film that pricks some of the key preoccupations of our time including identity, celebrity and politics and how these play out in our media as well as uncovering truths about an oft-misunderstood cultural figure.

We were there for the documentary’s premiere at the Curzon Mayfair to speak with Maya about why she wanted to make this documentary, her experience of the process of making it, including reacting negatively to its first cut, and what she hopes audiences will take away from it.

Director Steve Loveridge stopped to speak with us about what sparked the idea of the film, the long process it took to make it, the highlights of the documentary and how it was working with a friend as his subject.

By Sarah Bradbury. First published on The Upcoming on 20th September 2018.
Videos: Filippo L’Astorina

Matangi/Maya/MIA. is released in select cinemas on 21st September 2018. Read our review here.

Watch the trailer for Matangi/Maya/MIA. here: