Talent Guide

Maria Finitzo

  • Discipline:Director, Producer
  • Program Year:Fast Track 2018


Maria Finitzo is a two-time Peabody Award-winning social issue documentary filmmaker whose 30 years as a filmmaker has resulted in a body of work that has won every major broadcast award including most recently the Alfred E. duPont Award and has been screened in festivals and theaters around the world. Her films are novelistic in their structure, providing multiple points of connection for an audience. She allows the narrative arc of her character’s story to evolve, colliding with other subjects from the film, creating a complex, nuanced story that serves as a vehicle to deepen our understanding of society through everyday human drama.
A coming of age story that reveals the resilience of adolescent girls (5 Girls), a father determined to heal his daughter after a tragic accident (Mapping Stem Cell Research: Terra Incognita) investigates the role of science in a democratic society, a young man, leaving foster care (With No Direction Home) explores the challenges of trying to find one’s place in the world, a soccer coach committed to teaching his players – Hispanic girls – about winning in life (In the Game), and a young couple, both working minimum wage jobs struggling to make ends meet while building a life for themselves and their children (Hard- Earned) are all films that explore different realms of storytelling by investigating the important social issues of the day.
Finitzo’s films have tackled a variety of subjects from the controversial science of stem cell research and the complex questions surrounding the command and control of nuclear weapons to the psychology of adolescent girls, each film demonstrating a depth and breadth of knowledge and expertise. She is a long time associate of the award-winning documentary company, Kartemquin Films, one of the oldest and most respected social issue documentary film companies in the country.
Finitzo is also a screenwriter and fiction film director. In 2014, she founded Film Arts Productions, LLC a Chicago-based production company dedicated to producing independent fiction films. Her interest in fiction filmmaking is a natural evolution of her commitment to exploring different realms of storytelling. Those Left Behind, her first feature film, from her original screenplay premiered at festivals throughout the country and is in distribution with Random Media and The Orchard. Film Arts also has in development Finitzo’s next fiction film, A Taste of Life, an adaptation of the award-winning story “Passion” by Nobel Prize winning author Alice Munro. Finitzo is both the screenwriter and director. Most recently she optioned the intellectual property CLITERACY: The 100 Natural Laws to develop for episodic television.
She is currently in production on The Dilemma of Desire, a feature length documentary that explores female sexual desire through the lens of women’s equality.

Current Project

The Dilemma of Desire


The Dilemma of Desire explores the clash between the external power of gender politics and the equally powerful imperative of female sexual desire.