“Ashima” follows Natacha Maboma, a young Cameroonian-American woman who, at the time of making the film, had been living and travelling abroad in Asia for 3 years. Whilst visiting Hong Kong for the first time, Natacha reflects on the experience of being a young woman – and specifically, a black woman – living away from home and travelling the world on her own. Her thoughts are interspersed with the lyrics from 3 songs that have had a special significance for her during her travels. “Ashima” was filmed across the Hong Kong islands before the COVID-19 pandemic and also before the pro-democracy protests. It is the third film in a series exploring the importance of music in people’s lives.

“Ashima” was shortlisted for the ‘Cultural Impact’, ‘Cinematography’, ‘Unscripted’ and ‘New Generation’ awards at the 2020 Berlin Commercial Awards, and is an official selection of the 2020 Oregon Documentary Film Festival.


  • Natacha Maboma Key Cast “Narrator”
  • Dillon M. Banda Director Belong, Spirit, Ghosts,
  • Dillon M. Banda Cinematographer Belong, Spirit, Ghosts,
  • Sean Cunningham Editor Belong, Spirit, Ghosts,
  • Van Ngoc Dang Production Assistant Ghosts
  • IYO Sound Designer Belong,
  • Hotel Neon Composer


  • Project Type: Documentary, Short
  • Runtime: 7 minutes 1 second
  • Completion Date: July 30, 2020
  • Production Budget: 5,000 USD
  • Country of Origin: Hong Kong
  • Country of Filming: Hong Kong
  • Language: English
  • Shooting Format: RED
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.5:1
  • Film Color: Color

Screenings / Awards

  • 2020 Berlin Commercial Awards Berlin
    September 11, 2020
    Shortlisted for the ‘Cultural Impact’, ‘Cinematography’, ‘Unscripted’ and ‘New Generation’ awards.
  • 2020 Oregon Documentary Film Festival The Dalles
    United States
    October 11, 2020
    Official Selection

News & Reviews

Director Statement

I felt drawn to tell Natacha’s story, because I’d noticed that there aren’t nearly enough depictions in the media or in popular culture of black girls and black women travelling for leisure, living abroad and / or living away from their places of origin in instances that aren’t the result of forced and / or involuntary displacement.

As much as it is vitally, crucially important that we tell black stories that highlight the scourges of systemic oppression, racism and anti-blackness, I’ve also always felt – as a black man myself – that it is as important that we show more depictions of black people (and people of colour) existing in spaces and contexts in which we have historically been underrepresented.

And so, the conception of this film was borne out of that desire to contribute to the further and fairer representation of black people in wider contexts that reflect how a lot of us actually live our lives, and to show how even in a world plagued with systemic racism, anti-blackness and inequality, we still can – and do – aspire to lead free, adventurous and expansive lives, just like anyone else.