Chapter 1 of 17 from Mira Nair



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.

Topics include: Introduction

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.

Topics include: Introduction

Mira Nair

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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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 on 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, evoke the best from actors and non-actors, and protect your creative vision so you tell the story that can only come from you.

In her first-ever online class, Mira Nair teaches you to find the strength in your unique story and draw the best from your budget and creative vision.

A downloadable workbook accompanies the class with lesson recaps and supplemental materials.

Upload videos to get feedback from the class. Mira will also critique select student work.


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

I very much enjoyed her way of making movies. Her point of view.

I liked seeing her work with the actors in rehearsal most.

oh i so so enjoyed this wonderful woman's guidance even though I am a photographer I now get alot more from her to improve my want to pull from people emotion...and seeing how she works all aspects of her craft and the collaborative way in which she works inspires me to better mine. thank you Mira....The Ugandan School looks like a hidden gem!! I will pass it on.

I felt this class is a beautiful independent film.


Susan D.

Oh yes! Monsoon wedding! Wouldn't have known! Looking forward to her perceptions on filming, thank you!


The intro is already so inspiring, I can't wait to see and hear more about her ways of film making.

R.G. R.

Looking forward to learning from her and what she has to offer from her vast experience as an independent filmmaker.

Jessica P.

I'm not that familiar with Mira's work, but I'm excited for what she has to teach us.

Jennifer W.

I'm thrilled Prof. Nair is teaching in Masterclass! I love her films and am beyond honored to be able to take the class. Masterclass needs to include more women directors, DOPs, and writer, especially women of color. “There is power in the poetry of your own language, your own skin, your own story.” <3 <3 <3

Aminu A.

Good start! Had a smile on my face throughout this introduction! Love tha analogies too.

John N.

I'm really looking forward to this masterclass. she has a way of connecting to people and drawing them in.

Aishwarya K.

Just begun. Hope this encourages me to finally start voicing things that I've always wanted to.


After taking many classes on filmmaking on this site, this is already climbing to #1 in my opinion. She is already able to impart of sense that she has a wonderful soul and uses film to explore stories that otherwise would never be told. It's nice to hear from a filmmaker who isn't a 60's-70 year old white male working and living in traditional New York or LA.

Sydne H.

I'm already feeling empowered and inspired as an artist and this masterclass has just begun!


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]