Nadira Ilana is a Malaysian writer, filmmaker, and activist from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. She is an advocate for better and more inclusive cultural representation of Borneo-Malaysians in the national narrative.
Nadira is an alumnus of the Berlinale Talent Campus, BIFAN NAFF Fantastic Film School, Singapore International Film Festival's SEA Film Lab and the Luang Prabang International Film Fest's Talent Lab.
Her documentary, 'The Silent Riot' was the first East Malaysian film to receive the Justin Louis Grant from Freedom Film Festival. The political historical documentary on the 1986 Sabah riots, took the Best Human Rights Award at Freedom Film Fest 2013.
Her short film, 'Lastik' produced in 2013, was a playful allegory for North Borneo's independence and was the Sabah entry for Astro and Red Communications' 'My Hometown Series'. The film depicted Sabah's founding fathers, the late Tun Fuad Stephens and Tun Mustapha bin Dato Harun as children who are embroiled in a turf war with two other British children who have also taken their tin cans and rubber bands.
In 2016, Nadira was part of a Big Stories, Small Towns project. She conducted a film residency in Kampung Bongkud and sister-village Kampung Namaus for a whole year. Her collaboration with locals resulted in 14 short documentaries and 3 photo series that premiered in the village itself in Ranau, Sabah as a Dusun cultural festival. She is also an active organizer of film communities such as Working Title Film Drinks (2013-2016), a monthly gathering of professional filmmakers and enthusiast in Kuala Lumpur, which is now an active online group dedicated to Malaysia's independent film scene. She is also founder of the short lived, CINEBAH, Kota Kinabalu's first film club, which is currently suspended until further notice.
The Sabahan filmmaker was a judge for Projek Dialog's Pesta Filem Kita as well as the Malaysian short film competition, BMW Shorties in 2016 and 2017.