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Nocturnal Burger

(Nishachar Burger)

Director: Reema Maya

United States, India, 2022, 28 min

Shooting Format:Digital

Festival Year:2023

Category:Narrative Short

WINNER: Best Screenplay

Cast:Millo Sunkha, Bebo Madiwal

Crew:Writer: Reema Maya. Producers: Michael Y Chow, Reema Maya. Executive Producer: Sue Turley, Surekha Sengupta


A 13-year-old girl and a 30-something man are brought to a police station in Mumbai in the middle of the night by two strangers. Amidst questionable motives and unreliable narrators, a frustrated female constable investigates what happened that night, and what could’ve happened.


About the director

Reema is a two-time Sundance Film Festival nominated filmmaker. Her 2018 short film Counterfeit Kunkoo had its world premier at the Sundance Film Festival 2018, where it was the first Indian fiction short to be nominated in 16 years. It has since been selected at 120+ international film festivals and won 40 awards. It was also showcased in Sundance 2022 as part of their 40th Anniversary program. The film was also featured on Criterion, Mubi, Nowness and was awarded Vimeo Staff Pick - Best of Month. Her 2023 short Nocturnal Burger, presented by XRM Media, had its world premiere at Sundance Film Festival 2023 in January and has won 12 awards so far.

Under the banner of her award-winning production studio CATNIP, Reema has directed campaign films for global brands and music videos for some of India's biggest independent artists.

Reema was awarded the prestigious Asian Film Academy Fellowship Award in 2012 and represented India at the Busan International Film Festival. She is also a two-time Tedx speaker. She studied Contemporary Media Practice at the University of Westminster, London where she explored new & convergent media and graduated at the top of the Media Art and Design School.

Filmmaker's note

Nocturnal Burger a coming-of-age film in the darkest sense. We all remember our teenage moments of wanting to grow up too fast and the moment we understood for the first time what growing up actually feels like. It is in the transition between these two moments that the story of Nocturnal Burger takes place on a rainy night in Mumbai.

The journey of this film started from a very unfortunate true incident a few years ago. Everything that happened that night stayed deep inside me, and Nocturnal Burger is the first outlet it has had. It is an exploration of abuse and trauma; fantasy and escapism. It talks about the omnipresence of sexual abuse even in our public spaces, and the need for vigilance and intervention by the community.

We worked with a mix of non-actors and regional actors from various parts of the country and shot in real locations. On set we could feel the personal emotional investment of the team because the incidents we were addressing in the film were something most of us had encountered growing up.

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