Private Project


Maya is about to kill herself - until she is interrupted by someone from her past. Helen has turned up at an old friend’s doorstep to seek comfort after a tragic incident. Maya alters her decision after learning about Helen’s harsher life. As Maya regains her hope, Helen loses hers. A thought-provoking short drama against misogyny.

  • Manav Gami
  • Manav Gami
  • Manav Gami
  • Robyn Woronka
  • Lisa Swan
    Key Cast
  • Claire Lebowitz King
    Key Cast
  • Cameron Dibb
    Director Of Photography
  • Lidia Rzeznik
    Production Designer
  • Willis Hughes
    First Assistant Director
  • Luise Gurtler
    Sound Recordist
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    13 minutes 55 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 14, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    300 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Private Screening - BFI Southbank
    United Kingdom
    August 16, 2017
Director Biography - Manav Gami

Manav Gami was born on 3rd October 1994 and was raised in South West India. Growing up watching films inspired him to become a filmmaker.

He was part of the pioneering batch of students in the country to graduate with a degree in Theatre. With a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre, Media and English Literature, from Christ University, Bangalore, he went on to direct his first play – a Greek tragedy – Medea as part of his Theatre degree. While Medea was very well received by the audience, Manav became the youngest theatre director in South India to put up a full-fledged Greek tragedy.

As an intern at one of the country’s most renowned production houses – Equinox Films, which is known for crafting some of India’s most memorable commercials and advertising campaigns, Manav assisted director Priyanka Ghose as a trainee on a series of ad films and music videos. Working at Equinox further fueled his passion to explore filmmaking.

Shortly after, he moved to the UK to complete a Masters Degree in Filmmaking at University for the Creative Arts, where he directed his first independent short film – Maya. It premiered at the BFI Southbank London, on the 16th of August 2017.

Manav is currently pursuing his interests in the marketing and advertising industry and will soon begin his next film venture, which will be a documentary.

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Director Statement

When I first began writing this film, I was certain about one thing – my protagonist would be a modern-day equivalent of tragic heroines from ancient Greek theatre, namely – Medea, Antigone, Electra and many others. The social relevance of these great women and their powerful stories resonate through time and are most certainly significant even today. As we embark upon discovering the worlds they’ve lived in – dark and meek, to an extent where their populace took pride in power and more so in the abuse of power. We see a world that spoke highly of imbibing what was set as an already inherent misogynistic value system and the utmost diaphanously discriminatory laws that followed the highest patriarchal order. And thus, Maya was born.

Maya started off as an idea to portray the psychological chaos as a result of patriarchy. This idea then took its name that could be placed in several cultural contexts across the world. Maya is an ancient Sanskrit word that translates to illusion; while the Greek term means mother; and reason in Japanese. But for a text like Maya, the emphasis is less on its potential polysemy of the term, and more on the question about autonomously creating meanings, scene by scene, in an unfamiliar sphere through specific articulation of an auteur coming from a very different cultural space. Psychological dramas on screen are often about delving into the mind’s inner conflicts. There are strong dichotomies. The good and the bad; the wise and the fool and so on. Emotions turn into situations and before you know it, they become dramatic synapses firing off with an ease that’s somehow deeply gratifying for the audience. Maya is one such short psychological drama giving us a glimpse into the isolated world of its titular character, that alludes to a yin that soon challenges itself, not with a yang, but with more yin.

When a film is developed over several stages of production, it transcends itself from being a visionary creation to an auteur’s oeuvre that accomplishes the vision. Every step taken during the production of this film has been a creative decision, made only to determine the way the audience will feel or perceive the film. Being a simplistic performance driven film, the complexity of it all lies in the subtlety of opposition of the two women stemming from different worlds and their ability to deal with similar tragic situations differently.