Maria studied at the American Film Institute (AFI) in Los Angeles. Her short film, KILL ME LATER, won the First Prize in the Oberhausen Film Festival and the Panavision Grant at the Houston Film Festival. She then directed her first feature-length film, TWICE UPON A YESTERDAY or IF ONLY , starring Lena Headey, Douglas Henshall and Penelope Cruz. The film won Best Screenplay at the Montreal Film Festival, the Audience Award at the Sitges Film Festival, the Seattle Women’s Film Festival and led to Maria being nominated for a Goya (Spain’s Oscars) for Best New Director. After this, Maria directed TORTILLA SOUP in Los Angeles starring Hector Elizondo, Jacqueline Obradors, Raquel Welch and Elizabeth Peña. It was produced by Samuel Goldwyn Jr and was a noted success, breaking Latin American stereotypes on it’s way to nine nominations at the ALMA Awards. She then directed WITNESS, a documentary shot in New York for Canal Plus.
Returning to Spain, Maria shot the thriller feature film UTOPIA, which was a top choice with critics and the public alike. In Barcelona she then directed YOUR LIFE IN 65’, based on the play by Albert Espinosa. “65” was invited to numerous festivals, including the AFI Los Angeles Film Festival and the Stockholm International Film Festival and was another success in Spain. For Spanish television Maria directed FAME, EVERYTHING FOR A DREAM for TVE and then turned to producing as well as directing with CHROMOSOME 5, a touching documentary for TVE. The film was very well received in Spain and around the world, garnering many awards.
In 2014 she directed the drama TRACES OF SANDALWOOD, a film shot in Mumbai and Barcelona. The film won the GAUDI in 2014 for BEST FILM and the Audience Award at the Montreal and Cinequest Festivals. Her next film, NOW OR NEVER, premiered in June 2015. This romantic comedy was a summer blockbuster and turned Maria into Spain’s most successful female director. The film has been screened at the Montreal, Toronto and Miami Films Festivals.
Her most recent film, DON’T BLAME IT ON YOUR KARMA , based on the best-selling book, premiered in November 2016, reaching number 1 in Spain during it’s second week and screening at the Miami Film Festival in March 2017.
She has currently directed 9 films. Her last movie ”Vivir dos veces”, starring Inma Cuesta and Óscar Martínez, will be released in September.
LLUVIA EN LOS ZAPATOS Doglas Henshall, Lena Headey, Penelope Cruz
(Mejor Guion Festival Internacional de Cine de Montreal, Premio del Público en los Festivales de SITGES y SEATTLE, Nominación a Mejor Director Novel en )
TORTILLA SOUP Héctor Elizondo, Elisabeth Peña, Raquel Welsh
(9 Nominaciones Premios ALMA)
ÚTOPIA Leonardo Sbaraglia, Najwa Nimri
TU VIDA EN 65” Javier Pereira, Marc Rodriguez, Oriol Vial, Irene Montala
(Festival de Cine AFI, Festival de Cine de Estocolmo).
CROMOSOMA CINCO Lisa Pram, Andrea Pram
(Festival de Cine de Málaga. GRANRPRIX BIOFEST, Mar de Plata)
RASTROS DE SÁNDALO Nandita Das, Aina Clotet
Premio del Público Festival de Montreal 2014
Premio del Público Festival Cinequest San Jose de California 2015
Premios del Público Festival FIC-CAT 2015
Premio Gaudí a Mejor Película 2015
AHORA O NUNCA Dani Rovira, Maria Valverde, Jordi Sánchez, Clara Lago, Yolanada Ramos,
Festival de Cine Montreal
Festival de Cine de Toronto
Festival de Cine de Miami
NO CULPES AL KARMA DE LO QUE TE PASA POR GILIPOLLAS Verónica Echegui, Alex García, David Verdaguer, Jordi Sánchez, Elvira Minguez, Cecilia Freire, Alba Glocha, James Williams.
Festival de Cine de Miami