I am the eldest of five sisters raised by activist parents. Our Dad taught us to proudly claim our heritage of the Indigenous American and Mexicans of early California, our Irish ex-Catholic Mom had us pass out fliers with her when she campaigned as a delegate for Shirley Chisholm, and the mix of cultures we grew up with inculcated empathy and made me a bit of a chameleon. Add to this a childhood of creatively low-budget travel and short-term residences in different cultures from Malaysia to France to India, and my interest in seeing the world through different perspectives led to my exploring character through storytelling.
I earned a scholarship to Yale where I studied both acting and directing, supplemented by my volunteering at Sundance. Inspired by the independent filmmakers at Sundance, I moved to Los Angeles after college and directed my first feature with a small grant of 35mm film – and because I could not afford to buy more, I had to make it work with the limited amount of film I'd been awarded. I story-boarded every shot before shooting and thus learned to be an extremely efficient director. Being highly prepared as a director allows me to roll with unexpected curveballs that are inevitably part of production. My hard work and good humor inspire cast and crew to deliver their best. Now with 6 features under my belt I am excited about moving into television directing where I can work within each show's unique style.
Named by Variety as "talent to watch," Maria has directed 6 successful independent feature films, the latest of which are currently available on Netflix and Amazon: A Sort of Homecoming, with Laura Marano and Katherine McNamara, and For the Love of George, with Rosanna Arquette, Tate Donovan, Rex Lee & Kristen Johnston. Earlier films include Just Friends (AMC/WE), Temps, and Manna from Heaven (MGM/SONY).
Burton helms Five Sisters Productions with her real-life siblings, through which she directed the pilot for the Emmy qualifying short form series Old Guy and produced The Happiest Day of His Life (MTV/Logo), Kings, Queens & In-Betweens, and Julia Sweeney's "Letting Go of God" (Showtime).
Burton has been selected for television directing programs including the recent DGA's DDI Emerging Directors Mentorship Program, the Disney/ABC Directing Program, the CBS Directing Initiative, the Ryan Murphy HALF Foundation, the SONY Diverse Directors Program, and ProjectHER, for which she wrote and directed the short pilot Good Eggs.
Burton has served on the National Board of the DGA (Alt), Co-Chair of the DGA's WSC and DGA's Council of Joint Co-Chairs, past Co-Chair of Alliance of Women Directors and is a member of Film Fatales. She's currently working on an indie film, MidLife, and developing projects including Searching for Tamsen Donner, based on her mother's award winning books; and Mercury 13, a drama inspired by the women tested for the original astronaut program, which has been named to the Athena List, the BitchList/Bechdel List, won a CineStory Fellowship, and is a Nicholl Quarterfinalist.
Andrew Hersh @ Thrive Entertainment 310-209-1500