Reema Maya

Reema Maya Nocturnal Burger

Nocturnal Burger is a very sensitive film, but its beauty lies in its treatment. Filmmaker Reema Maya explores themes like trauma, abuse, fantasy, and paranoia, but all too gracefully. Also, what stands out is how beautifully she weaves together the perspectives of multiple characters within a short film’s duration. It is all set in one night and mostly in one location but still manages to keep us engaged. More about Reema’s journey with the film below.

When I look back at my body of work over the past ten years, I can see a lot of growth — both technically and emotionally. But I’m in awe of the naive optimism that my younger self had about pulling off ambitious ideas with barely any resources.

At the beginning of each project, I set a personal objective. Sometimes it is technical innovation, emotional exploration, convergent media experimentation, or even just different version of my voice. It is usually something I haven’t focused on before, so it’s almost like a self-motivated film school through which I’m putting myself. With Counterfeit Kunkoo, I wanted to tell the story of one protagonist, without ever stepping outdoors or using any music. The writing was very simplistic and the focus was on character and space exploration. With Nocturnal Burger, I wanted to push the writing, draw arcs of multiple protagonists within the canvas of a short film, and use music in a significant way. A lot of emotional nuances come from when life happens to you. In a twisted way, as filmmakers, we are lucky to be in a profession where our craft develops more and more the more we live through life.

Telling stories is a fundamental tenet of our entire civilisation. It is how we document life. The posterity that film awards to stories allows them to become a capsule for this moment in culture. For me, telling stories means contributing to the fabric of our culture.

Nocturnal Burger is based on a night that I wish hadn’t happened at all. I don’t even talk much about it, even though it had a deep impact on me. When I was thinking about which story I really want to tell, it was the first to emerge. It’s that strong voice that comes from within, saying this absolutely must be told to the world, there is a need for it. I then spoke to a couple of NGOs working in the field of CSA, and understood that awareness and intervention is what we can do as a community, and that’s exactly what the story spoke about. The initial meetings with the key crew was pretty heavy because we were talking about why we wanted to make this, and a lot of personal experiences from our respective childhoods would come to the surface. From there it was the usual process of multiple drafts of script, then production and post production.

It has to do with why I became a filmmaker in the first place — to make socially conscious cinema. The experiences that affect us the most find expression in our art. And of course, I feel if we’re going to be working so hard and creating something, why not say something meaningful through it.

There are a lot of exciting things in the near future. There’s a big music video dropping soon for an independent hip hop artist I love and respect. We’ve played and pushed a lot in that video too — it’s at the opposite end of Nocturnal Burger. And there are multiple feature projects in the works with some amazing partners!

This article is an all exclusive from our January EZ. To read more such articles, follow the link here.

Words Hansika Lohani Mehtani
Date 23-01-2023