“A Day In The Life” With Toronto Film Maker Maya Annik Bedward

Maya Annik Bedward is a Toronto filmmaker. Her work explores family, community, and resistance though complex, and colourful stories with killer soundtracks. She uses levity and nuance to explore multilayered issues like race and representation.

Maya’s creative process begins with immersion into the emotional and cultural worlds of her subjects, through patient and thorough research, and heartfelt relationship-building. In her directorial debut, The Foreigner, she recreated Toronto’s underground Forro folk music scene – an ambitious co-creation with the community who write, perform and party to this unique music. The result was a vibrant and authentic depiction, a testament to her affirming and collaborative process.

Maya’s use of form fuses past and present. In Why We Fight (now streaming on CBC Gem!), a family draws on Capoeira, an ancient Brazilian martial art, to raise a child with a shortened life expectancy. By layering black and white archival documentation of early Capoeira masters with a triptych of her subject performing in a Toronto laneway, Maya reveals the source of a father’s strength.

With her company Third Culture Media, Maya is in production on Black Zombie, a feature length documentary that journeys from Hollywood horror to the halls of academia, and into the midst of Vodou celebrations in Jacmel Haiti, weaving together an urgent yet timeless narrative about a beloved and misunderstood monster.

Maya Bedward
– Setup Here is some members of the crew and I on the set of Why We Fight getting ready for an interview.
Maya Annik Beward
– Roda Here is Director of Photography, Christina Ienna, shooting a Capoeira scene for Why We Fight. We had a lot of fun playing with blue and purple smoke bombs in the park.
Maya Bedward
– Wrap That’s a wrap with my lovely crew on Why We Fight.
Maya Bedward
– When the pandemic hit, my producer, Kate Fraser and I decided to make a garden in our shared backyard. Here is Kate working hard during a production meeting on our DIY patio.
Maya Bedward
– This past year has been full of zoom calls. Here is my boyfriend’s son hanging by a thread during his last week of school!
Maya Bedward
– Post-Its This is how my living room wall typically looks whenever I am in post production.
Maya Bedward
– Nauê_Park Sometimes I take Capoeira classes from Sapo and Lorena in Dufferin Grove Park. Here I am avoiding the roda and hanging with their son Nauê.
Maya Bedward
– This is me in my neighbourhood, dreaming about the day that we can finally watch movies in a theatre!

Which ‘hood are you in?

I live in the Ossington and Bloor area – my favourite neighbourhood in the city! It’s a World in Ten Blocks. You can find everything you could ever possibly need from rare books and energy crystals to injera and jerk chicken!

What do you do?

I’m a filmmaker and own a production company called Third Culture Media with my good friend, and business partner, Kate Fraser. We make documentary and narrative films that explore the interconnection of different cultures on screen.

What are you currently working on?

I’m working on a few projects, including a short film commissioned by the Christie Pits Film Festival and a feature doc about the most misunderstood monster of our time, the zombie!

Where can we find your work?

You can find my latest short film Why We Fight on CBC Gem.