Maria Pusateri is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and producer, as well as an actor who has performed in theater, independent film, and web series.
Vito After is her highly praised documentary, which she produced, directed and wrote. The film won Best Documentary at the Long Island International Film Expo (2006), and was selected to screen at numerous film festivals. Maria was inspired to tell the story of her NYPD homicide detective brother-in-law, Vito Friscia, after witnessing his emotional trauma and health issues in the aftermath of 9/11. Through Maria’s intimate portrait of an everyday hero, we find a renewal of the human spirit and insight into the lives of thousands of 9/11 responders and recovery workers who are paying an emotional and physical price for their bravery.
Pusateri was the associate producer for the Academy Award-nominated documentary short, Mondays at Racine, from Oscar-winning director Cynthia Wade and HBO. Inspired by the death of their mother, two sisters who own Racine Salon on Long Island offer free services to women battling cancer. The film explores the lives of these inspirational women, as the story unfolds into an unexpected look at womanhood, marriage and survival.
Maria got her start in television production at Cablevision's Metro Channels, producing lifestyle segments, shopping tips, film reviews, and interviews – from man-on-the-street to celebrities. She later became a producer for their Unblinking Eye cultural arts series, and earned several Omni Intermedia and Communicator Awards, as well as a New York Emmy nomination for Programming About the Arts. Unblinking Eye brought literary, theatre, music and film events in New York City to viewers. She created over 40 programs for the series, including the award winning Food For Thought play reading series, which featured Elaine Stritch, Judith Light and John Shea, among others. Pusateri's work also included interviews with Jerry Stiller, Anne Meara, Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman and Harrison Ford. Shortly after the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks, she produced a poignant piece focusing on the people who were among the thousands at the center of memorial activity in Union Square.
Pusateri's narrative film production work includes wearing many hats on the sets of Myra Velasquez' comedy short Kung Fu Granny, and the feature film Split Ends from writer/producer Gila Zalon's Back Pocket Productions, directed by Dorothy Lyman. Maria also worked on Pandora's Box, a short film based on Zalon's award-winning screenplay and upcoming feature film, No Alternative.
Through her DreamSlate Productions, Maria has produced corporate videos for clients such as Stony Brook University and Stony Brook Medicine.
Maria is a judge in the Documentary category for the Long Island International Film Expo – voted one of the "Top 25 Coolest Film Festivals" by MOVIEMAKER magazine. As a member of New York Women in Film and Television (NYWIFT), she has co-produced documentary panels and programmed numerous screening series.
Photograph by Maria Pusateri
Sunken Meadow Beach