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Arts & Entertainment


Mira Nair

Lesson time 04:02 min

Meet your new instructor: award-winning filmmaker Mira Nair. In your first lesson, Mira shares with you the two qualities every filmmaker needs to have—and why it's important for you to go out and make your own films.

Mira Nair
Teaches Independent Filmmaking
The Oscar-nominated director teaches her methods for directing powerful performances, maximizing budgets, and bringing authentic stories to life.
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I think of myself as an independent filmmaker. - I'm mixed Masala. - Mixed Masala? MIRA NAIR: I think of myself, actually, as fiercely independent. - I attack your king and take your rook, you see? [MUSIC WITH SOUND OF CROWD] MIRA NAIR: I've always pursued the films I want to make. I'm going to find my own way. We are in my extremely private study in Kampala, Uganda. This is a place I've lived in for almost 30 years. It is a space that is far from the hustle of Hollywood or Bollywood, a place that allows me to dream. And this is Maisha, of free film school that I helped found in Kampala, Uganda 14 years ago. I come from the guru-shishya tradition which is the tradition where a teacher embarks whatever they know to their students, their disciples. And in the old days, we would sit under banyan trees and old mango trees and do this. So welcome to what I hope might help you in your making of cinema. The heart of a poet and the skin of an elephant-- that is what a director has to be. Someone who has the conviction of an idea, the tenacity to absolutely do whatever it takes to make the idea happen, the ability to actually never say die, you know, to be spurred on by rejection because rejection is constant. The struggle to direct a film or to make a film is absolutely always continuing. Right now, 30 years into making films, I'm still in struggle, you know? If you only have the skin of an elephant, you're going to make thick-skinned elephantine films. But you have to have the heart of a poet because you have to transport us. You have to show us windows in the journey of life that make us see ourselves but also elevate us or plunge us into some kind of thought and emotion that make us see the world anew. For me, it is very important to help in any way I can in, say, teaching this MasterClass. To make people-- young people, any people-- from any part of the world believe they matter, that they have a voice, that they have something to say, and that what they have to say can reach others so that when you look at films about where you come from, you realize that there is power in the poetry of your own language, of your own skin, of your own story. I'm Mira Nair, and this is my MasterClass. [MUSIC PLAYING]

Harness the power of your roots

Oscar-nominated filmmaker Mira Nair approaches directing with the “heart of a poet and the skin of an elephant,” spurred by rejection and fighting to bring uncompromising stories to film. In the Golden Lion-winning director’s MasterClass, learn to make a big impact on a small budget in film production, evoke the best from actors and nonactors, and protect your creative vision so you tell the story that can only come from you.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

This class gave me a better understanding of creating independent films.

Mira Nair provides clear, deep understanding of what it takes to direct a film based in one's truth. It's provided me with answers to questions I didn't know to ask, and asked questions of me that I'm still learning how to answer. Thank you, Mira Nair.

there's such an unassuming and compelling manner to Mira's class - it really is quite inspiring and uplifting (just like her movies). Thanks for this great experience.

Love her visual mind. Very relatable spiritually as an Indie filmmaker myself.


Starla B.

i don't know any of mira nair's work, but this intro was great! i'm excited to learn more from her about independent filmmaking!

Chika O.

I'm ecstatic to learn from this master. I fell in love with Mira Nair's work back in high school after watching Kama Sutra: a tale of love. I joined MasterClass because of Mira.

Iolani G.

I LOVE YOU MIRA NAIR! I am so grateful to learn and be inspired and guided by you! Thank you. I LOVE ALL Your FIlms!!! I love all you shared here!

A fellow student

Awesome, Having come from India to do my MASTERS Program @ CUNY and somehow addicted to movies and mostly attracted to Cross cultural films made by Mira Nair & Nagesh kukunoor (Hyderabad Blues) . Love this class.

ivis P.

Thank you Mira. I love your transparency, professionalism, passion, knowledge, experience and wisdom...You are a true inspiration to me, no only as a filmmaker but also as a human being. I love your Masterclass!

Joel Kirk R.

Being Independent... but extremely successful. Yes, that's her gift to us.

Sarah Jane P.

Independent and generous with her gifts: sharing knowledge, giving voice, and telling the stories that she wants to tell. Eloquent and evocative: A director must have "the heart of a poet, and skin of an elephant". This is a class for making films in your own language, your own colour, to tell your story.

Marshall M.

All I have to say. She is great and makes you feel that you know her all your life . great teacher and agreat humanbeing . Thank yoy Miss Nair.

Hector Jesus A.

Mira is an incredible teacher! I’ve finished this class feeling uplifted and inspired beyond measure. Thank you MasterClass for providing us with such an extraordinary yet humble talent to impart her wisdom on us. And thank Mira!

Abdulfatai A.

Every ounce of what she said speaks the truth of honesty in filmmaking. Heart of a poet and skin of an elephant. Thanks