EP #23: Maya Bastian – Investigative Video Journalist To Award-Winning Film Director (Including 2021 Cannes Festival Entrant)

Maya Bastian is a Tamil-Canadian filmmaker, writer and artist. From 2008, she spent several years travelling the world as an investigative video journalist, documenting areas of conflict and post-conflict, which has culminated in an ongoing exploration of trauma as it relates to community and culture. As a director, she has won awards and exhibited her short films internationally, which run the gamut from narrative to documentary, to experimental animation, including recently having her film “TIGRESS” accepted into the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. She joins Ara to discuss getting shingles from working a job that she hated, dealing with the consistent fear of losing her job and all her money, pursuing her passion for almost 20 years before being able to make a full-time living from it, and much more.

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Follow Maya – https://twitter.com/mayabasti


00:54 – Introducing Maya Bastian; volunteering in Sri Lanka
02:34 – Starting out as an actor 20 years ago
03:25 – The judgement actors face; transitioning from acting to filmmaking
05:20 – Maya’s upbringing, her rebellious nature growing up
09:52 – Brown parents’ need for external validation before giving props to their kids
11:31 – Has the Tamil community progressed in how they view creative careers?
14:39 – Why Maya has taken it upon herself to create diaspora-related films
21:03 – Passing on trauma through generations
22:56 – Maya’s time as an investigative journalist; Cambodia, Palestine
27:41 – How Maya managed/manages her finances as an artist
33:05 – How Maya secures film projects to work on
38:44 – The power of intention, learning to deal with and accept rejection
41:48 – What is Maya insecure about?
42:47 – Maya’s plans for the next 3-5 years
43:50 – Maya’s hobbies; singing, playing the ukulele, hiking, dancing, board games with her daughter
45:14 – The legacy Maya wants to leave behind
45:50 – Advice Maya would give her 16-year-old self and her daughter
46:50 – The impact of the Tamil community on Maya
48:16 – People Maya admires, stealing a Maya Angelou book in high school
50:11 – Advice Maya has for other Tamil creators
53:25 – Creator Confessions
57:59 – The Wrap Up