Maria Finitzo

Director | Producer | Writer
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Mapping Stem Cell Research: Terra Incognita (2007) | 5 Girls (2001) | Hard Earned (2015)
1 win & 1 nomination More »
Film | Television
Directing | Production | Writing
* Starred info submitted by page owner via IMDb Resume (has not been verified by IMDb).

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Projects in Development (1 titles)YEARBUDGETSTATUS
Films in Production (1 titles)YEARBUDGETSTATUS
Past Film & Video (9 titles)YEARBUDGETUS Gross / WORLDWIDE
Past Television (3 titles)YEAREPISODE COUNT
  • Primary photo for Hard EarnedHard Earned (TV Series) Director  Less 2015– 
  • Primary photo for Independent LensIndependent Lens (TV Series) Director (1 episode, 2008), Producer (1 episode, 2008), Special Thanks (1 episode, 2008)  Less 2008 2
  • Primary photo for On the Brink: DoomsdayOn the Brink: Doomsday (TV Movie) Producer  Less 1997

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Additional Credits (submitted by page owner via IMDb Resume)

  • A Taste of Life * – Writer/Director Film Arts productions, LLC

Additional Resume Info (submitted by page owner via IMDb Resume)

  • * 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 and women’s equality.

    She won her first George Foster Peabody Award in 1994 as a Producer for The New Explorers, a PBS series profiling ground-breaking scientific exploration. The series, produced by Kurtis Productions, was nominated for a national Emmy and went on to win numerous broadcast awards, including The Ohio State Award, The Chicago International Film Festival Gold Plaque and
    the CINE Golden Eagle Award.
    In 1993, she became an associate of Kartemquin Films (, an award- winning documentary company with a 45-year history of producing work grounded in a respect for the subjects of their films, rock solid ethics, story-telling driven by a desire to find and capture emotional truth, and a deep commitment to telling stories that inspire social change.
    Of Kartemquin Films, film critic Roger Ebert wrote: These filmmakers have
    the ability to penetrate the souls of the people they depict. In 2007, to
    honor the body of work produced by all of the associates at Kartemquin
    Films, the company was awarded The International 2007 MacArthur Award for
    Creative and Effective Institutions.
    In 1998, Finitzo produced and directed her first vérité film, 5 Girls, in collaboration with Kartemquin Films. Following in the tradition established by Hoop Dreams, 5 Girls was a coming of age story that chronicled the lives of five young women. For two years, Finitzo captured scenes at home, at school, with friends, at work, going to dances, participating in sports, in close intimate moments with their families, grappling with issues of identity, running away from home, and leaving home for college, ultimately revealing the universal challenges of growing up female in our culture that cross lines of race and class. Described by The New
    York Times as "a remarkable testament to the resilience of youth," this feature length documentary was a special presentation of the PBS nonfiction series P.O.V, premiering on national public television in the fall of 2001. 5 Girls was awarded the Henry Hampton Award for Excellence from The Council on Foundations, and The Silver Award: The Chicago Film & Television Competition and an award for Outstanding Achievement from the Parent's
    Guide to Children's Media. 5 Girls also enjoyed a two-week theatrical run at The Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago.
    In 2001, in collaboration with Public Policy Productions, Finitzo directed and produced With No Direction Home, a documentary short about a young man aging out of foster care. The film was chosen by the International Documentary Association to be screened at InFact in 2004, the theatrical festival qualifying films for Academy Award consideration, and it went on to win a 2004 CINE Golden Eagle, a Bronze CHRIS Award and an award from the
    Columbus International Film & Video Festival.
    In 2002, she began work on her second documentary produced in collaboration with Kartemquin Films. Mapping Stem Cell Research: Terra Incognita examined the role of science in a democracy by taking a close-up look at two years in the life and laboratory of Dr. Jack Kessler, a renowned stem cell expert and the Chair of Neurology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of
    Medicine. In 2001, Kessler’s 15 year old daughter fell while skiing, leaving her paralyzed below the waist. Mapping Stem Cell Research: Terra Incognita was the first film to put a human face on this controversial subject by telling the stories of real people grappling with the moral and medical dilemmas of
    scientific research undertaken in uncharted waters. When Terra Incognita was awarded the 2008 George Foster Peabody for Broadcast Excellence, the Peabody board stated “Neither scientific facts nor ethical complexity nor emotional drama was sacrificed in this documentary.”

    In 2007, Finitzo was selected by Sundance Institute to be a 2007 Sundance Documentary Fellow for the 2007 Independent Sundance Producer’s Conference. In 2009, she began production on her latest collaboration with Kartemquin Films In the Game, a documentary that follows the ups and downs of an inner
    city girls’ soccer team to reveal the very real obstacles that low-income students confront in their quest for higher education.

    In 2010, Finitzo turned her attention to the stories found in other
    cultures. With a development grant from The National Endowment for the Humanities, Finitzo began work on Living Revolution, a feature-length documentary that examines the possibilities and perils of social change in the contemporary world through the lives of people caught up in one of the world’s most radical social and political experiments
    In June of 2008, she was awarded an MFA from Northwestern University in Writing for the Stage and Screen. Maria holds faculty appointments as an Adjunct Professor at both Columbia College and Northwestern University.
* Starred info submitted by page owner via IMDb Resume (has not been verified by IMDb).
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