Maria Valdez is a Guatemalan-born, California-raised, award-winning director. Her goal as a filmmaker is to tell stories that reflect the diversity of the human spirit. Her passion is bringing human interest stories to life from the Latino perspective and amplifying authentic portrayals of Latina characters across multiple genres. She has applied her style to almost every genre and has been recognized for her work ranging from comedy and drama to action. Although her films cross genres, the unifying thread that stitches her stories together is the celebration of family, culture, and the embodiment of strong Latino characters.
Maria was selected for the 2024 Alliance of Women's Directors Initiative. She also participated in two mentoring programs, Women in Film and Unlock Her Potential. Additionally, her TV Pilot was selected to participate in the Read Latinx Writers Initiative. She is the recipient of The Hollywood Foreign Press Association Directing Fellowship, The Gerald Hughes Comedy Directing Fellowship, the Verna Fields Fellowship, The Motion Picture Association of America Award, and most recently, her film VIDA won the 2022 First Place Gold Circle Award from the Caucus Foundation along with a 60K Panavision Grant.
Maria was one of eighteen students selected into the prestigious UCLA Film School and is a recent MFA Writing/Directing program graduate. She is also a Cal State University, Fullerton graduate, having received two B.A.s, one in Journalism and the other in Cinema & Television Studies. She currently has three short films playing at several film festivals across the country.