I am a filmmaker living and working in San Francisco. My main discipline is cinema. I have worked as a director, producer, and industry equity and equality advocate for 20+ years. My artistic practice also includes writing, photography, public art, and cultural work. I received a B.A. from SFSU in Creative Writing and an M.F.A. from CalArts in Film/Video. Wired magazine called me a "filmmaker provocateur." My films and writing combine a fictional and documentary narrative approach that centers around themes of family and Black displacement and migration.
My cinema directorial work includes short films Palm Trees Down 3rd St. (2008), Geraniums (2009), moonless (2012), spaced (2014), and my feature film elephant (2021). My films have screened at domestic and international festivals like Urbanworld, Cinequest, Long Island Film Festival, Salón Internacional de La Luz Film Festival, San Francisco Women's Film Festival, The Atlanta Philosophy Film Festival, and Reggio Film Festival. Palm Trees Down 3rd St. won the Adrienne Shelly Award for excellence in directing and aired on BET's Lens on Talent. San Francisco Urban Film Festival and the SF Planning Department screened Palm Trees for the 10-year anniversary in 2018 in a forum about the declining Black population in San Francisco. Film Threat called Palm Trees “a masterpiece.”https://www.mariaaj.com/