Talent Guide

Puja Maewal

  • Discipline:Director, Writer
  • Program Year:Project Involve 2016, Screenwriting Lab 2015


Puja Maewal is an award-winning writer/director whose work has screened for audiences around the
world. Her UCLA MFA thesis film, Jaya, was a Semi-finalist in the Student Academy Awards, a Jury
Award Winner at the Directors Guild of America Student Awards, and a Silver Palm Award Winner at
the Mexico International Film Festival. UK Film News called the street drama “explosive,” India Post
described it as “beautiful,” and The Aerogram declared the “brisk, charged narrative feels like an
adventure.” Maewal wrote and directed the film as a Fulbright Scholar in Mumbai, India.
She holds a B.A. in English from Yale University and an MFA in Film Directing from UCLA. She has also developed
content for several production companies, including BBC Worldwide. Her work has been recognized by
the Motion Picture Association of America, the Caucus for Producers, Writers & Directors Foundation,
the Los Angeles Film Review, and CINE. In addition, her films have screened at festivals and venues
worldwide, including Milan International Film Festival, Comic-Con, The National Gallery of Art, and East
End Film Festival, while earning top honors at CAAMFest, the Black Maria Film Festival, Delhi Shorts
International Film Festival, and Lakeshorts International Short Film Festival. Jaya also won “Best Film”
and “Best Screenplay” at UCLA Directors Spotlight, the film school’s highest honor. Recently, Maewal
was selected to take part in the Directors Guild of America’s Asian American Mentorship Program. Her
feature screenplay of Jaya was a Semi-finalist in the Nantucket Screenwriters Colony and a Quarterfinalist
in both the BlueCat Screenplay Competition and the CineStory Foundation Fellowship. Maewal
would like to return to Mumbai, where she lived for three years, to shoot the film.

Current Project



Young Jaya survives Mumbai's unforgiving streets by posing as a boy and living as a thief, but when she encounters a wealthy businessman who may be the father who abandoned her, she sets out to reclaim her identity.