Culture / People

Get to know Emma Seligman, the young, queer director behind ‘Shiva Baby’ and ‘Bottoms’

emma seligman

Who is Emma Seligman? This is the phrase that, we imagine, will be leaving the lips of just about everyone once they see the upcoming comedy BottomsThe director is the mind behind Shiva Baby, a tense entry into the girl failure canon starring her close friend Rachel Sennott – but more on that in a moment. With Seligman's sophomore film, Bottoms, in US cinemas and arriving in theatres across Australia on from September, we thought it was about time we introduced you to the 28-year-old Canadian film director.


On her upbringing and time at NYU...

Seligman – a Taurus – was born on May 3, 1995 in Toronto, Canada, and (as Succession's Connor Roy would say) was interested in film at an early age.

As a teenager, she idolised American film critic Roger Ebert and contributed her own film reviews to The Huffington Post.

After school, she was accepted to NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, where she studied film until 2017. During her time at college, she produced several short films including Lonewoods, Void and a short-film version of Shiva Baby that starred fellow NYU student, one Rachel Sennott, who ditched class to audition.


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On her films...

Her first feature-length film, micro-budget indie film Shiva Baby, was born from her senior year thesis at NYU. Originally a dystopian script, it eventuated as a dark comedy about a bisexual Jewish college student attending an undisclosed family member's shiva, when her sugar daddy shows up...with the wife she didn't know he had.

Premiering at the 2018 SXSW film festival, the short was soon developed into a feature that was released in 2020 at Toronto Film Festival. The film's psycho-sexual plotline and pitch-perfect comedic timing resonated with quarantined viewers, and Shiva Baby went on to become something of a critical success.

Seligman recently reunited with her on-screen muse, Sennott, again to co-write and star in her second feature film, a queer teen fight-club comedy called Bottoms, alongside Ayo Edebiri and Kaia Gerber.

Headlining this year's SXSW film festival, the film has already received much praise as it heads into cinemas.


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On what's coming up next...

Seligman is currently busy promoting her film Bottoms as it rolls out to cinemas globally, so we're not too sure what she has in store next. But we're sure that whatever come next for cinema's new darling director will be a must-watch.


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Images: @emmmaseligman @emmmaseligman