MAESTRA
Five incredible female conductors from around the world boldly break glass ceilings in the male-dominated world of orchestral conducting at the the Paris La Maestra Competition

MAESTRA

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AUDIENCE AWARD, BEST FEATURE - Port Townsend Film Festival | AUDIENCE AWARD, 2ND PLACE - Tribeca Film Festival AUDIENCE AWARD BEST DOCUMENTARY - Naples International Film Festival

Music • Women Conductors • Feminism, Patriarchy and Sexism • Women's Empowerment • Family • Sexual Assault • Geopolitics

Date of Completion: 2023 | Run Time: 87 minutes​​ | Language: English, French, Greek with English subtitles | Captions: No | Director: Maggie ContrerasProducers: Maggie Contreras, Neil Berkeley & Melanie Miller | Executive Producer: David Letterman

Five women gather 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.

Caryn James | The Hollywood Reporter
“Smartly, Contreras’ cameras face the conductors on stage, allowing us to observe the fascinating differences in their styles.”
“...the film is bracing and inspiring, giving some talented conductors much-deserved visibility.” 

Lisa Fung | The Los Angeles Times

“Conducting has long been a male-dominated field. A new documentary aims to change that,” interview with Maggie Contreras, Marin Alsop, Deborah Borda, and Zoe Zeniodi on behalf of MAESTRA.

Farah Nayeri | The New York Times
“A New Film Shines a Light on Women Conductors,” interview with Maggie Contreras on behalf of MAESTRA.

Ray Mark Rinaldi | The New York Times
“How 3 Women Broke Through as Filmmakers,” includes an interview with Maggie Contreras on behalf of MAESTRA.

Valerie Kalfrin | AWFJ
“An engrossing look at a select group of women at the top of their profession, MAESTRA soars not just on its music but in the details.”
“While the competition’s structure generates dramatic tension, it’s heartening to watch them admire each other, too.”

Kyle Bain | Bain's Film Reviews
“...it always finds ways to bring emotion to light, always finds ways to keep viewers in the know.”
MAESTRA is one of the more technically sound documentaries that I’ve seen–and that’s fitting considering it’s a film about music. The sound works brilliantly, bringing these women’s journeys to life with vigor, and the series of cinematographers capture the emotion on the faces of the five women in question throughout the film without fail.”

Carla Hay | Culture Mix
MAESTRA offers a riveting look at the challenges and triumphs experienced by five contestants competing in the all-female La Maestra competition for classical orchestra conductors.”
“...this documentary does excel in choosing interesting contestants and in how the film editing skillfully weaves their stories together.”

Chris Jones | Overly Honest Movie Reviews
“...a soul-stirring documentary visualized symphony orchestrated by Maggie Contreras. At its core, it paints a vivid picture of five remarkable women who dare to challenge the status quo and vie for their rightful place in the largely male-dominated domain of orchestral conducting.”
“Contreras expertly frames the narrative across five vastly different landscapes – Greece, Ukraine, Poland, America, and France. Each story is a nuanced portrayal of a woman driven by her passion for music.”

Eric Althoff | Screen Comment
“Maestra” is a fascinating fly-on-the-wall travelog with some of the world’s most capable ensemble leaders. Contreras, with her 80 percent female crew, is out to show that even though much progress has been made in the classical music world, there is much room for improvement.

Danielle Solzman | Solzy at the Movies
“On one level, the documentary is a glimpse into the field of orchestra conductors. But on another level, it speaks to a bigger problem with many fields where women have a tough time competing with the men.”

Oscars Central
The strongest pick out of the crop of documentaries we caught at Tribeca, Maggie Contreras’ masterful MAESTRA…[is] stunningly well-crafted…the interwoven contestants’ narratives…paints a larger picture of the nature of gender politic in the world of conducting…

Matthew Huff | Parade Magazine
MAESTRA is both a timely reminder of all the ways the patriarchy still presses its thumb down on the world while also being a remarkably hopeful movie about the power of female friendship and community…[It’s] one of ‘ 9 Films from the ‘2023 Tribeca Festival You Need to Watch’.

Steve Kopian | Unseen Films
“This is an excellent look at a small group of women that make up less than 3% of their chose profession.”
“This film is a delight.”