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Leaked Teaser Suggests Fascinating M.I.A. Documentary

Apparently frustrated by Interscope’s tardiness in continuing the production of a documentary on M.I.A. he was directing, Steve Loveridge staged a guerrilla action this weekend by uploading a five-minute teaser to YouTube, embedding it on his Tumblr. “Reblog the shit out of this and maybe they’ll wake up,” he wrote. The action did not go over well. Interscope pulled down the clip, and a Roc Nation exec sent Loveridge one of those entertainment industry “I’m really pissed off but, hey, bro, s’all cool” emails, noting that the upload “screws with” the label’s marketing and PR efforts while assuring Loveridge that the project “IS going to move forward.” Loveridge’s response: “I really couldn’t give a flying fuck. Count me out. Would rather die than work on this.”

Despite the takedown, the clip has surfaced again — it is embedded above — and M.I.A. herself is weighing in, retweeting support from her fans. And Forrest Wickman at Slate picked up the story, writing:

Regardless of what roadblocks may be holding this documentary back, the trailer suggests that it’s worth clearing all that away so that it can get out into the world. Featuring years of footage going back to when M.I.A. (born Mathangi Arulpragasam, and nicknamed Maya) was a teenager—plus interviews with Jimmy Iovine, Spike Jonze, Kanye West, and more—the doc has quite a story to tell, tracing Maya’s rise from daughter of a militant Tamil separatist group to global pop superstar. Not to mention her public quarrels with Diplo, the FCC, Sri Lankan politicians, and many, many others, which are also touched upon here. Even if you don’t like her music or politics—some of which have come to seem at least a little less paranoid in recent months—it’s hard to deny that she’s a fascinating subject.

Can a documentary about Maya released by her own label be evenhanded? Maybe not. But the trailer makes this project look awfully compelling even so. Here’s hoping they’ll resolve that “legal stuff and funding” so that this can see the light of day.

Watch the clip — this doc does look pretty great. Here’s hoping we get to see it.

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