Women in Film Spotlight: Owner of Maria Soccor Productions, Maria Soccor
Maria Soccor is a multi-award-winning actress, producer, and director. She is also the Owner of Maria Soccor Productions which is a film production company located in New Jersey and New Orleans. The company incorporates the expertise and knowledge of partners that have over 30 years of experience in feature film production, feature film finance and international sales for the worldwide market. Maria Soccor Productions experience in the business of developing feature films, has allowed to carefully develop strategic partnerships with key finance, production and distribution partners. The sought-after expertise and experience has allowed Maria Soccor Productions to work with top producers and investors in helping them evaluate and assess content risk and navigate worldwide sales and distribution challenges.
Hello Maria, please tell us about Maria Soccor Productions and your mission as the Founder.
Maria: I founded Maria Soccor Productions to have a main focus on the creative aspect of filmmaking from script to screen. The business of filmmaking is a business, which has to be coupled with professionals, that focus on strategically developing feature films, feature film finance, domestic and international sales, and doing co-productions.
Being that I am a filmmaker, I am creative content focused. My production company allows me to produce my films while working with a team of seasoned individuals that are top producers and distributors. Having a production company also allows me to help my fellow filmmakers that are seeking distribution and structure for their films which is rewarding on an optimal level.
Does your experience as an actress, writer, director, and producer help run a production company smoothly? If so, in what ways? Maria: My experience as an actress, writer, and director have very little to do with me running a production company. However, my producing skills have helped me to structure a company in a way that produces content, and work successfully in the film and commercial industry.
What can you share with us about the latest film projects you’re working on?
Maria: For two years, I have been working on Freestyle Music: The Legacy that I am writing, directing, and producing. This September, we will be going into postproduction. I am also continuing to work with the mega talent Robert Clivillés on his two upcoming projects, and an American treasure of a photographer, Neal Slavin, on a documentary film.
In another year or so, I will be wrapped on Sybil: In Her Own Words that I am directing and co-writing with Dr. Patrick Suraci, who authored the book about Sybil, who is Shirley Mason; and Tille, the story of the late civil rights activist Tille Bing Bryant, and her heroic activism, of participating in lunch counter sit ins, during the civil rights movement.
We understand you moderated a panel at The Cannes Film Festival. Congratulations! What can you tell us about this experience?
Maria: It was a true privilege to kick off Cannes 2023 at The Marché Du Film for Winston Baker, interviewing such distinguished filmmakers and producers. Every panelist gave the audience so much information, and I am honored to join the roster of Winston Baker’s official panelists and moderators. 2023 they celebrated their 15th anniversary as a company and their 13th year at Cannes which is very impressive.
When I am invited as a panelist, I am always happy to share the knowledge and experiences I have had in my career with others.
What advice would you have for anyone who is currently struggling with navigating and wearing many hats being in front and behind the scenes?
Maria: It is very difficult to be in front and behind the lens. My advice is to be realistic when working on projects. Firstly, you have to have a great team. Secondly, it is fine to say no. If you are an industry professional, you know that whoever you work for must put their trust in you. If they do not, be okay with knowing you cannot move forward. Making films is a highly collaborative effort and every person plays a key role, no matter what point of entry they arrive on the production.
My experience with working on independent productions where the team has not made a film before has been the most challenging for me. The learning curve for first time filmmakers/actors is extensive, and the work is enormous. Many first-time filmmakers and actors are looking for that thread of recognition and commiserate with anyone to get an ounce of sympathy. This is not the way to proceed. The reason is because filmmaking and being an actor are two of the most difficult professions to dedicate your life to. And yes, it takes a tremendous amount of dedication and devotion. I say- Talk less, work harder, find solutions and listen to those who are established.
I do work with first time productions as long as the people involved are professionals. Many people will waste your time and therefore, you have to do everything to move a project forward. And when you push a project forward, only then will your impact mean something if you see progress. And when you say yes, give it everything you have. Be devoted to the project and give it everything you can so when the time comes that it is completed, you have no regrets.
What other vital information would you like our readers to know about your upcoming plans within the film industry?
Maria: I plan to grow stronger, more significantly, and wiser day by day to produce great quality films that will withstand the test of time.
About Maria Soccor
Maria is a member of the Board of Directors of Dress for Success, Northern New Jersey Chapter; and a board member of Educate The Block, a career training program in Hudson County, New Jersey. A member of New York Women in Film and Television, the Poetry Society of America, and is an accomplished poet and poetry teacher. Truly passionate and dedicated to the arts, she also serves on the Theater/Arts, Photography, and Film Committees at New York’s prestigious National Arts Club. Her awards include New Jersey Essex County Young Woman of The Year, Miss New York, and Ms. National USA.
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