MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A.
The world of musician, activist, provocateur, and Sri Lankan immigrant M.I.A. is revealed through decades of previously-unseen personal diaries which anchor a kinetic documentary that is every bit as unconventional and uncompromising as the international hip-hop star herself.
"Stephen Loveridge's film allows for the impression that it's more foundational than it is conclusive." Sam C. Mac - Slant Magazine
The Sri Lankan Tamil songwriter Maya Arulpragasam, better known by her nom de guerre M.I.A., rose from a refugee upbringing in London to become one of popular music's most subversive voices. Inextricably linking her electronic-infused hip-hop to militant solidarity with the world's displaced and oppressed, M.I.A. has consistently broken norms and courted controversy. Cutting together decades of footage often recorded by Arulpragasam herself, director Stephen Loveridge captures a near autobiographical record of the rapper's genesis, artistry, and politics. The daughter of a leading Tamil nationalist guerrilla, some of Maya's earliest footage shown depicts her embrace of the struggle that also forced her family to flee Sri Lanka. We see how her rise to stardom never abandons this revolutionary spirit, creating friction as the roiled music industry and media attempt to rein her in. Variously accused of sympathizing with terrorists, and appropriating rebellion for shock value, the film captures the frustrating focus on M.I.A. to stay in her lane even as the injustices she confronts play out unchecked. All these vignettes are presented out of chronological order and juxtaposed jarringly, counterintuitively allowing her musicianship and message to unite as so many gatekeepers sought to prevent it. Matangi / Maya / M.I.A. is no mere biopic, but a powerful manifesto of an artist's all-too relevant battle to speak her truth.
Stephen Loveridge is a filmmaker from London. He has been working with longtime friend M.I.A. on her documentary for several years, sifting through over 700 hours of footage. Matangi / Maya / M.I.A. is his directorial feature debut.
Sponsored by KEXP 90.3 FM, Lux Pot Shop, The Seattle Times
- Director: Stephen Loveridge
- Principal Cast: Maya Arulpragasam
- Premiere Status: Seattle
- Country: Sri Lanka, United Kingdom, USA
- Year: 2018
- Running Time: 94 minutes
- Producer: Lori Cheatle, Andrew Goldman, Paul Mezey
- Editors: Marina Katz, Gabriel Rhodes
- Music: Tracy McKnight, Dhani Harrison, Paul Hicks
- Website: Official Film Website
- Awards: Sundance Film Festival 2018 (World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award)
- Filmography: Debut Feature Film
- Language: English
- Format: DCP
- International Sales: Cinetic / Dogwoof