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Where is she now ?

Updated: Mar 4

Meet future film director Maia Adelia:

Ever since her film classes lit the spark of her filmmaking skills, Maia has been on a fruitful journey of becoming a documentary filmmaker.

She has been selected for the BAFTA scholarship programme to support her studies in the factual development and production  course at the National Film and Television School .

Raised in Brighton she attended a private school through a combination of bursary and scholarship support.

It was during that time she was initiated to the realm of documentary and filmmaking.

Her passion was ignited when she was introduced to Stacey Dooley’s documentaries.  She consequently decided to study “Media BTEC” at college.

Pleasantly surprised by her avid interest in filmmaking her teacher introduced her to a variety of documentaries and filmmakers there.  She discovered: Asif Kapadia, Lucy Walker and Michael Moore, who, in her own words “ solidified “ her passion for documentary making.

Her teenage years propelled her onto the unique path of the constantly evolving filmmaking scene. As she graduated from college she took a gap year, travelling all around south Asia.

When she returned to the UK she came across the Global Girl Media UK training.  As she didn’t have any experience in the media industry apart from her BTEC media class, she saw the application and “knew” she had to apply.

When I asked her about her training with GGM  UK she said : “The training offered a great foundation to on and off-the-job media training.  It was the first time I had ever held a proper industry camera! Plus, the opportunity of making a short documentary as part of a group was fantastic. Some of the techniques; e.g the casting of contributors are still parts of my job to this day.”

When asked about the take away from her GGM UK experience she explained that what stayed with her the most and what she loved  was the ongoing  support and advice from experienced tutors in the training, she says “ I felt confident to express my  ideas in a safe environment  and created life long friendships”.

Despite the highs and lows of the industry, fast forwarding two years from working office jobs to pay the bills, Maia came across a tweet from Producer Director Liana Stewart looking for a Researcher.

She sent her an email and convinced her to pick her.  Ever since, Maia has been working in the industry and going up ladders. Maia is  currently an Assistant Producer in the TV industry and have worked on projects like The Good Fight Club (Sky Docs) which won Official Selection at Sheffield DocFest 2023.  Her goal is to develop and direct her own documentaries.

When asked about the industry she explains that a lot has to be done given the decreasing number of female directors, she calls for more inclusivity and diversity in the universe of film making. According to We Are Doc women the number of female directors has fallen to less than one in four since their 2021 report. Maia is a proud advocate of intersectional feminism promoting  the fundamental right for all gender identities to have equal choices and opportunities in all fields.

As Maia elaborated on the workings of the industry she explained the impact commissioning slowdown has had on BAME people.  “The commissioning slowdown has meant that there has been a job drought which is going to massively affect diversity. A recent Sky News article said: “For the past three months freelancers who are black or Asian are less likely to have worked than their white colleagues (29% of white respondents had not worked at all, compared to 38% of respondents who are Asian and 32% of black respondents).”

When I asked Maia about the possible ways the industry could improve, she discussed the impact of a lack of diversity in the field.  “I think we need to promote diversity at leadership levels. While entry-level schemes are great, there remains a noticeable lack of diversity at the top of the industry. This imbalance leads to the loss of talented individuals from underrepresented backgrounds. Providing greater support for underrepresented people at mid-career is essential for effecting long-term, substantive change.”

As a successful AP who’s worked on the “Wednesdays” podcast and documentaries such as “The Good Fight  Club”, I asked Maia for advice for upcoming filmmakers in the industry.  She stressed the importance of pitching by explaining the following: “Develop your pitching skills early, as pitching is a constant in the industry - from job interviews where you have to ‘pitch yourself’ to presenting ideas internally to execs and externally to commissioners. You will never not have to pitch. Recently I had a session with a commissioner who said she still has to pitch upwards in the hierarchy. Pitching never stops!  Your peers are not competitors but allies who can recommend you for jobs, offer support during tough periods and grow alongside you. People are often intimidated by networking.   However, your peers will be your most valuable network - as you move up the ladder, so will they - you might even be pitching your ideas to them one day!

Tasnim Noam, GGM UK Summer Academy 2023.

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