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Maya - Best for Fests

Feature film 1h 44 USA 2023
Maya  written and directed by Julia Verdin is one of Bruno Chatelin Best for Fests curated features and docs.

Profile on I Trailer I  Synopsis I Director's statement I Crew I


Teenage Maya is raised in a household stricken by her father’s abandonment. Her mom, Camila, is an alcoholic, struggling to make ends meet. Camilla’s boyfriend, Diego, is an abuser who takes advantage of both Camila and Maya.

When Maya is followed on social media by an attractive guy named Ray. He responds to her post and seems to genuinely care. Soon Maya begins to chat with him online more about her life and fears. Before long Ray persuades Maya to meet him in person and after a slightly rocky start over him being quite a bit older than his photos, their relationship quickly develops.

Ray takes an interest in her problems and dreams and works hard to make Maya feel special.

When things escalate at home, Ray encourages Maya to run away with him. Initially spoiled by Ray with new outfits, beauty treatments, and art supplies, Maya slowly begins to realize he has another agenda when he starts using her to make money. Ray persuades her to cooperate by holding everything he has done for her over her head and claiming that he loves her. Maya complies and starts being set up for appointments with Ray’s “clients”.

As Ray pimps her out with more clients, Maya finds herself trapped in a sex trafficking ring with no way out. Meanwhile, her mother Camila, falls into despair after losing her daughter. After a near overdose, she agrees to get sober in order to get her daughter back. When Camila gets a call from the police saying that Maya is in their custody, she is overjoyed. However, the trauma that Maya has been through does not make her return as easy as Camila had hoped. Ray is determined not to lose his money-making asset while Camila is intent on not losing her daughter ever again.

Can Camila help Maya get back on her feet, or will Maya be forever lost to the dark world she has fallen prey to?

Profile on I Trailer I  Synopsis I Director's statement I Crew I


Maya wins a very special award at NY Socially Relevant Film Festival

The 11th Edition of the SR Socially Relevant™ Film Festival in-person section closed on March 18, at the National Arts Club in New York. The Festival opened at the Maysles Cinema on March 13 and ran at MRHS and Cinema Village. The festival covers social issues totaling 53 films this year. The Official Selection is accessible online through the festival website. The main themes are 100 Years of Armenian Cinema, Black History, BIPOC films, Aging and Disability, Women, LGBTQI+,...

Amazing news! Maya was just selected by Independent Film Festival SIFFA

Since 2017 SIFFA successfully bring together leaders who shape global cinema and business at its organizations many times a year, the SIFFA Awards (Meetings). We’re bringing to the UK cinema lovers films that they are not able to see anywhere else in this country. We are registered in the UK and are not funded by any governmental organizations. We exist thank only to friends of SIFFA, any of you could help us to find new friends and supporters because we are a unique film festival that ...

MAYA will make its World Premiere at the Raindance Film Festival in London

MAYA will make its WORLD PREMIERE at the @raindancefilmfestival in London!   Maya premieres on October 30, 2023 at 6:00 pm at Vue Piccadilly and will be followed by a Q&A Please join us if you are in the area !   Per Raindance: “Written, directed and produced by Julia Verdin, Maya is a stark social impact film engaging with the dangers of online grooming and sexual exploitation. Young Maya, whilst doing well both sociall...

Maya selected at upcoming LA Femme International Film Festival October 19 – 22, 2023

Maya will have its US premiere in LA at La Femme International film festival (Oct 19-22, 2023). We are back on-the-ground with events, mixers, awards ceremony, screenings and more with additional virtual elements online for our worldwide audiences. We will have films, seminars, awards show, special films and much more Our festival is in OCTOBER annually in Los Angeles, we will be hosting our standing room only panels and screenings as well as offering a potential online...

Why Make a Movie About Child Sex Trafficking?

ONE OF THE FASTEST GROWING CRIMINAL INDUSTRIES IN THE WORLD IS THE BUYING AND SELLING OF PEOPLE. These are the facts… Child sex trafficking is reported in all 50 states and 30% of trafficking victims globally are children. (Source: 2020 Trafficking in Persons Report, UN) A big misconception is that Trafficking is a crime that just happens overseas and mainly in 3rd world countries, but the reality is, it’s a domestic problem happening right on our doorsteps that...

Help us make the world a better place through film: support Artists For Change —

Help us make the world a better place through film. Support Artists For Change — Our films are raising awareness   150,000 American children are lured and forced into sex slavery every year.   Films is a significant medium in raising awareness and educating communities on what trafficking looks like and the techniques traffickers use to recruit vic...

Maya: The crew

Julia Verdin Director Angie: Lost Girls, Lost Girls (short) Julia Verdin Writer   Jason Piette Producer Head In The Clouds, Perfect Creatures, I Melt With You, Iron Sky ...

Maya The synopsis

  Director / Cast: MAYA is directed by award-winning independent British filmmaker Julia Verdin, and stars actors Patricia Velasquez, Rumer Willis, Rena Owen, Gian Franco Rodriguez, Anthony Montgomery , Billy Budnich, Betzaida Landin and Isabella Feliciana as Maya.    Genre: Social Impact Thriller   Logline: When a teenager seeking an escape from her alcoholic mother's abusive boyfriend is lured into a traff...

Julia Verdin: Maya's director statement on 'why make a film on human trafficking'

When I volunteered at a shelter for runaway teens, I was shocked by how many of them were convinced that their traffickers loved them, and that they would come back to rescue them. The whole idea of the Stockholm syndrome type of relationship with a captor has always intrigued me. I was inspired to write Maya after hearing many stories from survivors about the Stockholm type relationships they had with their traffickers. In talking to detectives on trafficking task forces, they noted that it i...


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