A graduate’s coursework was submitted for a BAFTA and raised £2k for charity

‘It’s just a film which we used to make a difference’


Veemsen Lama and Tom Cullingham’s film raised £850 for a new earthquake proof home as well as £1400 for Chance for Nepal, Freedom Matters and Maiti Nepal.

The director and producer even graduated. The two met through school trips to Cannes film festivals and became interested in working with each other. But Tom “never dreamed to work on something as amazing as Maya while at uni.”

From working on smaller projects they came to create “Maya” and won Student of the Film Award 2015  in their final year before graduation.

Graduating from Ravensbourne, one of the top 100 European design schools, the two have definitely grasped the opportunity to make something great out of their education.

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Veemsen was inspired to create the film when visiting Nepal. He saw a life which didn’t sit with him and was spurred to help the society before his eyes. Suddenly it was time to plan their final academic project, and the topic couldn’t be more perfect.

This is the story Veemsen wanted to tell:

“When I returned to Nepal two years ago I saw these kids sleeping on the pavement. They were surrounded by dogs. I took a picture and later returned to ask them about their hopes and dreams. The picture I took and the stories I heard became the inspiration for ‘Maya’.

With over 1500 kids still living on the streets in Kathmandu alone, I wanted to do something to raise awareness and make a difference.”

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The boys in action

Tom said: “Maya has been the journey of a lifetime. I’ve learned so much and experienced so many new things.

“It’s so hard to pick a best moment, but Veemsen and I couldn’t believe it when ‘Maya’ won ‘Student Widescreen Film of The Year’. That’s a moment I will never forget.

“I could list 100 more amazing moments.”

The student duo collaborated with Shyam the production manager who was the one who “made it all possible.”

In September “Maya” screened at the Raindance Festival and has been selected to screen at the January London Short Film Festival. Alongside this the team submitted the short for a 2016 BAFTA and although it did not make nomination they were still “super excited to have been able to submit.”

The signed photobook

A signed photo book set to auction in January

The boys have collaborated with one of Britain’s classic actresses, Joanna Lumley. Known for her work and dedication to charity, she signed a copy of the film’s photo book. Tom hopes that it will help raise awareness of the film, fundraising efforts, and the issues so easily overlooked. The photo book is being set for auction for January.

The team are planning to continue in raising awareness on today’s pressing issues and will continue to work abroad. “We’ve got one more short and a feature in the pipe lines. Both set in Nepal, we’re hoping to get the rights to a charity founder’s memoirs to who’s done amazing work for children in Nepal.”

“Maya” is currently on the festival circuit but is being considered for electronic release.

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