Maria Sole Tognazzi began her cinematographic career as apprentice and then assistant director. At the same time, she began to direct some backstage films and video clips (Sergio Cammariere, Carmen Consoli, Neffa, Paola Turci). She has been assistant director and co-director on various cinematographic work for approximately ten years.
With C’ero anch’io (I Was There Too) she won a Globo d’oro for Best Short film. Her first feature film Passato prossimo was distributed by Medusa and was nominated for a David di Donatello and won a Nastro d’argento and a Globo d’oro for Best New Director.
Her L’uomo che ama (The Man Who Loves) distributed by Medusa opened the 2008 Rome Film Festival. This film was sold in over 15 countries around the world (including Russia, Greek, Turkey, Brazil and Argentina).
Ritratto di mio padre (Portrait of My Father) is a documentary with which she pre-inaugurated the Rome Festival 201. It was nominated for a David di Donatello and won a Nastro d’argento in the documentary cinema section. Her penultimate film was Viaggio sola (I Travel Alone) with Margherita Buy and Stefano Accorsi which was released in 2013 and was co-written with Ivan Cotroneo and Francesca Marciano. Nominated for five David di Donatello and a Ciak d’oro 2013 for Best Leading Actress (Margherita Buy) and the Nastro d’argento 2013 for Best Comedy, it was distributed and sold worldwide (France, Japan, USA, Spain, Ireland, Argentina, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Taiwan and Porto Rico).
In 2015 her latest film Io e lei (Me and She) with Margherita Buy and Sabrina Ferilli was released. The film was produced by Indigo Film and distributed by Lucky Red. It was nominated at the David di Donatello awards 2016 for Best Leading Actress, at the Nastri d’argento 2016 for Best Comedy, Best Director, Best Story and Best Leading Actress. Sabrina Ferilli won a Nastro d’argento and a Ciak d’oro. The film won the Nastro d’argento for Best Story of the year, Special Nastro d’argento 70 years and a Ciak d’oro for Best Comedy.
In 2019 she made the TV series, Petra, for Sky starring Paola Cortellesi.