M.I.A. documentary

There Is a New M.I.A. Documentary & She Absolutely Loathes It

MATANG / MAYA / M.I.A., the documentary about M.I.A.’s life premiered at Sundance and she did not give it a good review in a recent interview.

MATANG / MAYA / M.I.A., the documentary about the Sri Lankan rapper’s premiered at Sundance on January 21, 2018. It was her first time seeing the film after agreeing to do the project over four years ago when she handed over her home movies and early footage of her career to friend Steve Loveridge.

Approximately 24 hours after this she told Billboard that she was still processing the movie, and that it was not what she had expected.

Director Mansplains MATANG

M.I.A. Steve Loveridge Sundance 2018

M.I.A. and Loveridge at the premiere.

M.I.A. said that she thought it was going to be more of a tour documentary about her music. “He took all of my cool out,” she told Billboard in a recent interview. “He took all the shows where I look good and tossed it in the bin. Eventually, if you squash all the music together from the film, it makes for about four minutes. I didn’t know that my music wouldn’t really be a part of this. I find that to be a little hard, because that is my life. It’s not the film that I would have made.”

Loveridge admitted that a music documentary would make a nice accompaniment to his project. He says, “I understand where she’s coming from, but nobody can do that.” He continued, “Whenever a celebrity makes a film about themselves, they are never going to have that objective distance from themselves. This was just the right kind of knowledge of her to make it truthful, but I have just enough objectivity to know when to put that shot in there. Maybe she won’t like how she looked or if she said the wrong thing, but I need it so an audience can understand to have compassion for the subject.”

The Making of the Movie

screenshot from hollywood reporter

According to IMDB this is Loveridge’s first feature length film. His only other registered work is No Experience Necessary a short with no description from 2003.

The documentary about her early influences and childhood took over four years to produce. Loveridge also admits that he would go months at a time without speaking to M.I.A., even though he was in possession of her personal video records, because it was just too much for him.

The two were caught on camera in an interview by The Hollywood Reporter about an hour before the screening. Loveridge seems nervous about whether or not she will like it. He says that he has been living in the US for the past few years, and if she called he would not answer. Then he says that they are friends so it was a really weird situation to be working on a documentary about her life.

Drama During Production

MATANG / MAYA / M.I.A. poster

In the summer of 2013, Loveridge posted a trailer for the film to his personal Tumblr page that has since been removed. Then he posted the email from Interscope Records saying that the video needed to be taken down for legal reasons. To which Loveridge publicly responded, ““I really couldn’t give a flying fuck. Count me out. Would rather die than work on this.”

By March 2017, M.I.A. had nearly given up hope. At the time she told Fact Mag, “I don’t know what’s happening with my doc. I haven’t talked to Steve for years. I did speak to him a few months ago but I think the documentary about me might take another ten years.”

The lesson is to never give a friend your home movies and then agree to let them make a film about your life. That is unless you get it in writing and then watch it before it premiers at Sundance.

The highly anticipated documentary MATANG / MAYA / M.I.A. doesn’t have a release date yet. But be sure to watch it legally on internet video when it does. And remember that M.I.A. doesn’t like it.

The sophomore Dillon Francis LP will be in all Spanish. And Lily Allen has a new album coming.


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Elizabeth de Moya has contributed to DJ Mag, DJ TechTools, LA Weekly and Thump (Vice). She has a BA in Linguistics from UC Berkeley.