World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Susan Seidelman

Article Id: WHEBN0003058478
Reproduction Date:

Title: Susan Seidelman  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: She-Devil, A Cooler Climate, Boynton Beach Club, Emily Lloyd, List of American films of 1989
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Susan Seidelman

Susan Seidelman
Seidelman directing in 2004
Born (1952-12-11) December 11, 1952
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US
Occupation Director, producer, writer
Years active 1982–present
Notable work Smithereens, Desperately Seeking Susan, Making Mr. Right, Cookie, She-Devil, Gaudi Afternoon, Musical Chairs

Susan Seidelman (born December 11, 1952, Philadelphia) is an American film and television director, producer and writer.[1]


  • Early life and education 1
  • Career 2
    • Early 1980s 2.1
    • 1985 - 1999 2.2
    • 2000 - present 2.3
    • Television 2.4
  • Awards and nominations 3
  • Filmography 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Early life and education

Seidelman was raised in a suburb of Philadelphia, the oldest daughter of a hardware manufacturer and a teacher.[2] She graduated from Abington Senior High School in 1969, and went on to study fashion and arts at Drexel University in Philadelphia. After taking a film appreciation class where she was inspired by the French New Wave, particularly the films of Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut, as well as Ingmar Bergman, she switched her focus to filmmaking.[3][4]

Her first foray into movie-making at New York University resulted in a Student Academy Award Nomination for her satirical short film about a housewife's affair, And You Act Like One Too.[5]

Seidelman earned an MFA from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and is an adjunct professor in the school's graduate film department, overseeing students' thesis films.


Early 1980s

In 1982, Seidelman made her feature-film debut with Smithereens, a bleak and darkly humorous look at downtown Bohemianism of the 1980s. It was shot on 16mm for $40,000 on location in New York City, at times "guerrilla style," as was the case for a subway scene. Smithereens captured the look of the post-punk music scene at the time and was the first American independent film to be selected for competition at the Cannes Film Festival.[6] With recognition from Cannes, Seidelman became a member of the first wave of 80s-era independent film makers in the American cinema.

1985 - 1999

Seidelman's second theatrical film Desperately Seeking Susan, featuring then-rising star Madonna, was a major box-office and critical success, launching the careers of co-stars Rosanna Arquette and Aidan Quinn and introducing a new generation of actors and performers such as John Turturro, Laurie Metcalf, Robert Joy, Giancarlo Esposito, and comedian Steven Wright.

Seidelman's subsequent movies of the 1980s were Making Mr. Right, a romantic sci-fi comedy starring Ann Magnuson and John Malkovich, who played dual roles as both a socially awkward scientist and his lovesick android creation; Cookie, a father-daughter mafia comedy starring Peter Falk, Dianne Wiest, and Emily Lloyd, written by Nora Ephron and Alice Arlen; and She-Devil, the film version of Fay Weldon's bestselling novel with Roseanne Barr and Meryl Streep in her first comedic movie role.

In 1994 Seidelman and screenwriter Jonathan Brett received an Academy Award nomination for a short film they co-wrote and co-produced called The Dutch Master. The film was part of the series "Erotic Tales" produced by Regina Ziegler and was screened at both the Cannes Film Festival and Telluride Film Festival. In the same year Seidelman was a member of the jury at the 44th Berlin International Film Festival.

2000 - present

In 2002, Seidelman returned to feature films with Gaudi Afternoon, a gender-bending detective story set in Barcelona, starring Judy Davis, Marcia Gay Harden, Juliette Lewis and Lili Taylor.

Her 2006 film Boynton Beach Club is one of the first movies to deal with sexuality and the aging Baby Boomer generation. It had a theatrical run and gained significant acclaim at U.S. film festivals. The story was based on an original idea by her mother, Florence Seidelman, who while living in south Florida had gathered true stories of senior citizens who were suddenly back in the "dating game" after the loss of a spouse.

Seidelman's next film Musical Chairs, opened in limited release in 2012. The story is set in the South Bronx and Manhattan and revolves around a couple taking part in a wheelchair ballroom dancing competition after the woman becomes disabled.[7] The film had its premiere at Lincoln Center's Dance on Camera Festival and played at the New York International Latino Film Festival, the Miami International Film Festival, and the Havana International Film Festival, among others.

Seidelman's 2013 film The Hot Flashes is about middle-aged women living in small-town Texas, all former 1980s basketball champs, reuniting to challenge the current girls' high school team to raise funds for a breast-cancer treatment center. It stars Brooke Shields, Daryl Hannah, Wanda Sykes, Virginia Madsen, Camryn Manheim, and Eric Roberts.


In the 1990s and 2000s Seidelman garnered success as a television director, helming the pilot of Sex and the City, which involved some casting and developing the look and feel of the show. Seidelman thought the pilot script by Darren Star was bold, presenting then-taboo subject matter with humor, saying, "It was the first time that a TV show featured women talking about things they really talk about in private."[8] She directed subsequent episodes during the show's first season.

Seidelman has two Emmy nominations for the Showtime film A Cooler Climate, starring Sally Field and Judy Davis and written by Pulitzer Prize-winner Marsha Norman. She has also directed episodes of Comedy Central's cult hit Stella and PBS's The Electric Company.

Awards and nominations

  • Student Academy Award nomination for dramatic short – And You Act Like One, Too
  • Golden Palm nomination, 1982 – Smithereens[9]
  • Cesar Awards nomination for best foreign language film – Desperately Seeking Susan
  • BBC's Best 100 Films of All Time – Desperately Seeking Susan[10]
  • Academy Award nomination for best live action short film (narrative short subject) – The Dutch Master
  • Astaire Awards nomination – Musical Chairs
  • GLAAD Media Awards nomination for outstanding film, limited release – Musical Chairs
  • Best Feature Film and Best Director, Feature - 2013 Massachusetts Independent Film Festival – Musical Chairs[11]
  • Lifetime Achievement Award - 2015 New Hope Film Festival[12]



  1. ^ Gaita, Paul. Susan Seidelman Biography, Retrieved on October 12, 2015.
  2. ^ Green, Michelle. "Since Making Madonna a Movie Star, Director Susan Seidelman Is No Longer Desperately Seeking Success", People Archive, April 29, 1985. Retrieved on October 11, 2015.
  3. ^ Seidelman, Susan. Smithereens DVD commentary track. motion picture released: 1982. DVD released November 16, 2004.
  4. ^ Lemire, Christy. “Susan Seidelman, Survivor,” Balder & Dash,, July 12, 2013. Retrieved on October 14, 2015.
  5. ^ ibid., People
  6. ^ Insdorf, Annette. "'Smithereens' - The Story of a Cinderella Movie," New York Times, New York, December 26, 1982. Retrieved on October 12, 2015.
  7. ^ DeFore, John. "Musical Chairs: Film Review", The Hollywood Reporter, March 23, 2005. Retrieved on October 12, 2015.
  8. ^ Hardy Butler, Simon.“Interviewing Susan Susan Seidelman: From Madonna to Menopause,” Curnblog, March 7, 2014. Retrieved on October 27, 2015.
  9. ^ Festival de Cannes
  10. ^ Gilbey, Ryan. "Are these really the 100 best films?", The Independent, London, 22 October 2011. Retrieved on October 13, 2015.
  11. ^ Massachusetts Independent Film Festival, 2013
  12. ^ Hunterdon County Democrat. New Hope Film Festival honoring Susan Seidelman with Lifetime Achievement Award,, New Jersey, July 14, 2015. Retrieved on October 13, 2015.

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.