Life Lessons by Maria Finitzo - Little Maria StretchingLIFE LESSONS is a humorous look back at those days through the eyes of MARIA, an 11-year-old girl caught between her mother’s belief that there was much to be learned in a dance class (and by God her daughter was going to learn it) and her wish to grow up like the rest of her friends, spending her Saturdays shopping in downtown La Grange or hanging out at the bowling alley. The Stone Camryn School of Ballet is the setting.

Life Lessons by Maria Finitzo - Big Maria Sits On StoolThe art of dance and the impact that a teacher can have on his students is at the center of MY MOTHER’S IDEA, a cross genre documentary that blends fiction, archival footage, documentary interviews and behind the scenes shooting to tell the story of the Stone Camryn School of Ballet and the charismatic teachers Walter Camryn and Bentley Stone who ran the school for 45 years.

Along with her two sisters, Director Maria Finitzo was a student at the school for 11 years, and she brings humor and personal insight into understanding what that experience meant to her, why she continued to study dance long after she knew she’d never make it as a dancer and, most important, all that is learned about the creative process in a dance class, even when you happen to be one of the worst students in the class.



For more information on Maria’s involvement with Kartemquin Films, please visit