Five incredible women from around the world who are boldly breaking glass ceilings in the male-dominated world of orchestral conducting take center stage in MAESTRA, filmmaker Maggie Contreras’ directorial debut. These women gathered in Paris for ‘La Maestra’, the only competition in the world for female conductors, to show the world the singular talent that unites them and which, for far too long, has been considered the pursuit of only men. Mothers, daughters, rebels, leaders – over four days, each took to the stage to compete: a mother of young twins from Athens, determined to show her kids anything is possible; a Ukrainian doing all she can to focus on her art and the competition in front of her while Russia invades; a Polish student just starting out; a newlywed American grappling with the decision to start a family; and a French immigrant returning to the city that closed its doors to her many years ago. Personal stories of survival, passion and perseverance are woven together with the drama and excitement of this one-of-a-kind event. The struggles and triumphs of the gifted artists in MAESTRA offer a microcosm for the challenges faced by women in every industry and in every walk of life today, while also providing valuable insights into how we may conduct ourselves as we create a new movement for a more equitable future. Director Maggie Contreras (Gilbert, Jonathan Scott’s Power Trip) stops by for a conversation on opening at the Tribeca Film Festival, watching the way that the La Maestra competion rivalry grew into unity through a common struggle and common goal, and how following these five women helps to push the boundaries of conventional storytelling by giving voice to the women who have been marginalized for generations.
About the filmmaker – Director / Producer / Writer, Maggie Contreras’ has been a producer behind documentary films tackling a wide range of topics, from comics to solar energy. Jonathan Scott’s Power Trip (PBS Independent Lens ‘20) is the titular HGTV celebrity and activist’s journey across the USA to examine the antiquated utility monopoly system and how solar holds the key to energy freedom. In 2017, Gilbert premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and was distributed by Gravitas Ventures with exclusive SVOD on Hulu. Digital series have been seen on AMC, NFL and Quibi. Her short film about the intersection of comedy and social justice is a permanent installation in The Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. Maestra is her first feature documentary film. maggiecontreras.com