Reema Maya about her second film Nocturnal Burger, which will premiere at the Sundance festival

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Filmmaker Reema Maya says it is her duty as a filmmaker to talk about issues that affect the society around her. Reema’s latest short film Nocturnal Burger is about child abuse and the trauma surrounding abuse. The short film will have its world premiere on January 21 in the Sundance Film Festival 2023 under the US Fiction Short Films section. (Also Read: How Independent Indian Filmmakers Make Their Mark)

The short film features Bebo Madiwal, Millo Sunka, Trupti Khamkar, Shrikant Mohan Yadav, Pushpendra Singh, Somnath Mondal, Vicky Shinde and Mukesh Pachode. Prior to Nocturnal Burger, Reema’s short film Counterfeit Kunkoo also premiered Sundance Film Festival in 2018. In this interview she talks about the sensitive subject Nocturnal Burger explores, working with children on a film about child abuse and more.

What inspired you to make Nocturnal Burger?

It was an unfortunate incident that happened when I got home (many years ago), and I came across a vehicle in which something unfortunate happened to a child. We intervened and complained to the police. That was a rough night and it has stayed with me ever since. This was the story that bubbled up in my mind because it symbolized something very important. Almost all of us have experienced some form of abuse as a child and most of us have not received justice (most of our experiences) have not been validated.

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There are times when children don’t realize what is happening, and then there are times when they confide in an adult, but no one believes them. That produces a lot with a lot of unprocessed trauma. What was important about this night was that at least the boy got justice. She doesn’t have to wonder what happened to her and if she did something wrong.

The film explores many aspects of abuse, not just the young girl, and how one processes trauma.

It was important for me to tell, not tell just one story, but to explore the themes of abuse and trauma. There are immediate and long-term consequences (of trauma). So, through different characters, we’re looking at the immediate effects of trauma, the chronic and long-term ways it can affect your life, even 10 or 20 years down the line. The idea of ​​abuse, trauma, its consequences, and how we deal with it in our psyches is escapism and fantasy – that’s the theme I wanted to explore.

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How do you deal with kids on sets when you’re working on a subject like that in Nocturnal Burger?

We did our best to emotionally protect the children on set. They did not know the context of the conversation and were never in a position where they had to be touched inappropriately for any reason. That was certainly something we were constantly aware of. They only knew as much as what the real child would know and understand at the time.

Your film does not show violence and abuse. What was the thinking behind it?

I really wanted to be aware of the fact that I didn’t want to visually represent any of the abuse. You don’t want to involuntarily end up fetishizing something we criticize, especially something so sensitive.

What is the one theme that always appears in your films?

As a filmmaker, I hope to work for the social consciousness that will always be there in all my independent work. Maybe also a little bit in my commercial work and music.

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