LONDON — Steve Loveridge's feature documentary about the life and times of musician M.I.A. has begun shooting in the British capital with producers BRITDOC boarding the project as co-producers.
U.K. based non-profit documentary support organization BRITDOC will co-produce with Yala Films and arrange finance and distribution along with Wiggin E.P, the packaging arm of media law firm Wiggin LLP.
Billed by the backers as a “magnet for controversy from her arrival on the music scene in 2003,” M.I.A. has been hailed a creative genius and musical innovator on one hand and also vilified as a terrorist-supporting, misguided, attention seeker in some media quarters.
M.I.A. arrived in London at age 11, fleeing the civil war in Sri Lanka. She then hustled her way from life in a rough London housing estate to a record deal.
She has made beats from gun shots and cash registers, name-checked terrorist groups in her lyrics and branded her record covers with tiger stencils and AK-47s.
The rapper-singer has also courted controversy in the U.S. with a middle-finger flip at the 2012 Super Bowl halftime show.
Using hundreds of hours of exclusive, unseen candid footage shot by M.I.A and her closest friends, the documentary aims to show first-hand the experiences captured on camera that become the lyrics, beats, artwork and attitude.
Loveridge has been a collaborator of M.I.A’s since they met at St. Martins Art College in London and this marks his first feature.
Josephine Rose from London media law firm Wiggin also joins as executive producer.
The film is being co-produced by BRITDOC’s directors Jess Search, Sandra Whipham, MaxyneFranklin and Beadie Finzi.
BRITDOC’s funding and executive producing track record includes the 2011 Oscar nominated Hell and Back Again and 2013 Toronto audience winner Jehane Noujaim’s The Square.
BRITDOC also worked with Channel 4 on Callum McCrae’s journalistic film about the end of the Sri Lankan civil war No Fire Zone which debuted at the United Nations.
BRITDOC’s latest theatrical release as a U.K. distributor is Rick Rowley’s Sundance winner Dirty Wars.
Sonically, it’s as animated and singular as she’s ever been. Kanye may have trumpeted ‘Yeezus’ as a milestone in music, but he was only really drawing himself level with a woman who’s been stirring genres together in a fiery cauldron for years.
From the rousing single ‘Bad Girls’ to more gentle moments (like the new-wave calypso of ‘Lights’), there are joyful lyrical reminders that MIA isn’t scared to be contemporary either. She calls time on the trend of YOLO – cheekily reinventing the acronym as ‘you always live again’ – on ‘YALA’. It’s easy to scoff, but casual mentions of sign-of-the-times tidbits (Instagram, drones, Twitter, offshore banking) make ‘Matangi’ sound a damn sight more like it was made in 2013 than most things you’ll hear this year.