Charting her experiences of civil war and migration to her rise as a popular but controversial star, this documentary film traces the life of the singer and pop icon M.I.A. Born in Sri Lanka to the founder of the Tamil independence movement, Mathangi ‘Maya’ Arulpragasam – alias M.I.A. – fled to London with her mother and siblings at the age of nine. Her original plan being to become a documentary filmmaker, she returned to Sri Lanka as an art student and began filming her family members. Her journey and her experiences with Sri Lanka’s military regime have shaped her artistic and political attitudes. She began making music and has developed a culture clash aesthetic inspired by street art, hip-hop and various migrant communities in London that has lead to worldwide success. However, her support for the Tamil rebels and her ‘bad girl’ identity have been harshly criticised by mainstream media, politicians and conservative members of the public. Using archive material from the last 22 years, most of which was shot by Maya herself, Steve Loveridge reveals how Maya uses pop music as a political mouthpiece and does not shy away from being an outsider.
by Steve Loveridge
with Maya Arulpragasam
USA / United Kingdom / Sri Lanka 2018 English, Tamil 97’ Colour Documentary form


  • Maya Arulpragasam


Director Steve Loveridge
Editing Marina Katz, Gabriel Rhodes
Music Dhani Harrison, Paul Hicks
Music Supervisor Tracy McKnight
Sound Design Ron Bochar
Executive Producers Philipp Engelhorn, Michael Raisler
Producers Lori Cheatle, Andrew Goldman, Paul Mezey
Co-Producer Joshua Rappaport

Produced by

Hard Working Movies

Steve Loveridge

A digital artist and filmmaker from London. MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A. is his debut feature-length documentary.


2018 MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A.

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2018