Maya [Short Film Review]

// Article originally published on 16 Jan 2016 – Latest update on 24 Sept 2016 //

At the end of February 2015, film director Veemsen Lama and his very enthusiastic crew, which includes producer Tom Cullingham and director of photography Arran Green, were embarking on a pretty intense journey, which took them to the heart of Kathmandu, in Nepal, for the filming of their short film, Maya.

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Beautifully simple, amazingly shot and uplifted by a very emotional music, Maya at first sight tells the story of three homeless Nepalese children – Maya (Ashmita Tamang), Bikram (Suraj Tamang) and Kancha (Aakash Malla) – who escape from the slave traders and find themselves, wandering in the streets of Kathmandu penniless, with only their hopes and dreams of happiness.

But Maya is more than just the story of these three children, trying to catch the stars in the Nepalese night sky and build a shelter to finally bring a smile back on the little girl’s face.

Maya is a universal story. A story every single human being can identify with and relate to. Because Maya is a story about survival, friendship, simple dreams and never-ending faith. It’s about getting hurt by life and eventually finding the light again.

As the narrative unfolds, I somehow quit Maya, Bikram and Kancha while still being with them, and find myself face to face with my own story, face to face with the world’s story. A story of pain and grief and hurting, but a story of hope and joy and faith all the same.

Veemsen Lama’s latest short film won the BKSTS Student Best Film of the year 2015, permitting its makers to reach the finish line first, before all of the other universities in the UK. Maya was also officially selected for Raindance Film Festival as well as nominated for “Best Student Film Of The Year” at the London Short Film Festival, which allowed the film crew to apply for BAFTA too. And more recently, Maya won Best International Short Film at the London Independent Film Festival (LIFF), and Best Foreign Film at el Dorado International Film Festival.

Maya is an incredibly touching piece of cinema – a celebration of the beauty of life. No matter the obstacles, no matter the darkness and no matter the tears.

* WATCH THE SHORT FILM *

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