Featured Filmmakers: Emma Seligman

25th May 2021

Welcome to the first edition of Featured Filmmakers- a monthly series in which Screen and Film School Brighton’s student blogger Lauren Louise takes a closer look at some of the incredible creatives behind the screen. First up: Canadian screenwriter and director, Emma Seligman!

Name: Emma Seligman

Movies: Shiva Baby, Shiva Baby (Short), Void (short)

Skill: Screenwriter/Director

Together with Screen and Film School I have decided it would be a brilliant idea to shine the spotlight on the filmmakers behind the screen. The people who don’t get nearly as much recognition as they deserve. This means we will be showing you the creative geniuses behind your favourite scripts, shots, sounds and edits and hopefully provide some guidance into how they cultivate their style and put their unique stamps on things.

This month’s featured filmmaker is Emma Seligman. Seligman is an up and coming Canadian screenwriter and director, known for her debut feature film Shiva Baby. The story of Shiva Baby follows Danielle, a college student who makes it home for a Jewish funeral only to be bombarded with the usual assault of ‘adulting’ questions from family members. Things get complicated when Danielle runs into both her sugar daddy and ex-girlfriend. Shiva Baby gets awfully claustrophobic and nail-biting at times- it will no doubt send a shiver down your spine (Get it?)

What’s exciting for me is that Shiva Baby was originally a seven minute short film of the same name made by Seligman as part of her degree work. She then went on and made that short film into a feature length movie that then went on to win an expansive amount of festival awards.

Seligman also made it onto Variety’s ‘Ten screenwriters to watch’ list along with Shaka King, Will Berson, Kata Wéber and many other great screenwriters from this past year, which is pretty impressive having only made one feature.

Emma Seligman really breathes a breath of fresh air into what it means to grow up, especially as a young woman today. Shiva Baby is like an American Fleabag, that doesn’t break the fourth wall but is still filled with nail-biting cringe worthy moments. Seligman’s sense of space and sound is cleverly used to immerse us into the world of Shiva Baby; the one location felt a lot like an escape room where you had to converse and explain your life to a series of aunts and uncles before you could escape.

We need to see more real stories of young women stumbling through adulthood, having no idea what they’re doing. Authenticity is key and that’s the reason I have chosen Emma Seligman as this month’s featured filmmaker, because the authenticity within Seligman’s work is something that can only be celebrated and encouraged, especially among us budding filmmakers who also hope to tell new, unique stories true to our experiences. I really feel that Seligman is going to be one to watch in the future.

Don’t forget to check back next month for our second edition of Featured Filmmakers!

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