What It Takes To Succeed: Multi-Award-Winning Actress, Producer, Director, Maria Soccor

Multi Award-winning actress, producer, and director Maria Soccor continues to get the recognition and praise she worked hard for and deserves. Her acclaimed documentary feature film Lords of BSV won 13 awards across the world, and her Cannes Film Festival entry Kicks, which she wrote, played a lead role in, and directed is demonstrating her outstanding talent behind the camera, while simultaneously distinguishing herself as a successful actress.

Among her highly anticipated work is a project that Maria is writing and directing the documentary feature titled, Freestyle Music: The Legacy which is about the Latin hip-hop movement in the 80s and 90s, now known as freestyle music. George LaMond, Sa-Fire, Betty Dee of Sweet Sensation, Judy Torres, Corina, Cynthia, Brenda K. Starr, plus K7 and Aby Cruz of TKA will be among the Latin music stars featured in the documentary which began production in April 2021 in New York City, Jersey City, New Jersey, and Miami, Florida.

Grammy Award-winning DJ Little Louie Vega, and Grammy winner Robert Clivillés of C+C Music Factory, were recently added to the documentary, with more stars to be announced.

“The film will personalize how these trailblazing artists came up from the Bronx and Spanish Harlem to create this unique new style of music in the 1980s and 90s which spread to Miami, LA, and around the world,” says Soccor. “This is the true story of the artists, producers, and DJs who not only were instrumental in the freestyle movement but have kept the genre alive for more than 35 years.”

We’ve obtained an exclusive interview with Maria to learn more about her latest and upcoming projects, as well as what it takes to be a successful director, writer, producer, and actress.

What would you say are some unique characteristics you possess that have carried you to this vast point in your career?

Maria: Being tenacious, I have the knack to figure out specific logistics to keep my endeavors moving forward and upward.

How would you describe your directing style?

Maria: I have been very fortunate to become very close to my talent during a production. Behind the camera, I surround myself with talent that is exceptional. For this, my filmmaking style comes across as intimate and truthful. I aim to use real people and look for unique talent that serves a story on the most personal and unique level.

On stage, when a character classically reaches a moment of anagnorisis, there is a huge change, a shift. In film, these moments can be presented over and over, and I aim to build on these great moments.

How should a director conduct themselves on set from your point of view and experience in front and behind the scenes?

Maria: My experience with being in front of the camera and working with directors has generally been wonderful. When I arrive and slip into fiction, I come onto the set with the best presentation of me I can bring. I owe that to the cast and crew.

What I have learned is that every aspect of the actors have to be instructed by the director. If that is not the case, there is a huge issue and that is not the way I would approach content.

We (as directors), must be prepared so when challenges arise, we are in control, calm, and make the best decisions for the film. Directors must be the experts on the content and make firm decisions during rehearsals so we approach our cast and crew with love and kindness while working through the production and any issues that arise.

As a writer, would you like to weigh in on the current writers’ strike?

Maria: With AI on the rise, I hear that more screenwriters are becoming less relevant. Our issue as writers is not that we wish not to collaborate with AI, but rather have streamers divide a good share of the funds to writers, (us), so we can make proper wages, for our contribution to content, that makes the streamers successful.

What upcoming projects are you most excited about this year and why?

Maria: Currently, I am writing, directing, and producing several documentaries. Freestyle Music: The Legacy, a documentary about the freestyle music artists from the 1980s and 1990s, Sybil: In Her Own Words, I am co-writing with Dr. Patrick Suraci who wrote the book about Shirley Mason that suffered from DID, painted in six different personalities and eventually was cured, and Tille, a documentary about the late Tillie Bing Bryant which documents her journey in the 1960s until her recent death in 2023, as a civil rights activist that participated in lunch counter sit-ins.

As an actress, I am an original cast member of The Mannequin Diaries, written by Brian Wiggians and directed by Tony award-winning Trazana Beverly. Being on stage has opened me up to my humble beginnings as an actor, and being an actor is what I love the most.

What techniques have you studied that have played a part in you being the actress that you are today?

Maria: Being consistent in everything that is expected from me.

What is your perseverance story? Please share a moment of time in your personal life you’ve dealt with an obstacle. How did you overcome it?

Maria: From the years of 2005–2018, I had a heart arrhythmia that became such a nuisance I decided not to perform on stage, since it would be triggered at any given point. However, in 2018 I had an ablation and it gave me a new start. Since then, in the medical sphere and for filmmaking, I never take technology for granted, or ignore the possibilities of issues that can be resolved. It was a valuable life lesson.

What has been more challenging? Acting, directing, writing, or producing, and why?

Maria: Producing by far has been the most challenging. From development, to the final project being released on a platform takes time, focus, and execution.

When you look back on your career, what would you like your legacy in the entertainment industry to reflect?

Maria: I will know better in the next decade.

More on 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.

Keep up to date with all things Maria Soccor online:


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