Celine Song (Korean: 셀린 송; born 1988) is a South Korean-Canadian director, playwright, and screenwriter based in the United States. Among her plays are Endlings and The Seagull on The Sims 4. Her directorial film debut Past Lives was released at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival.

Celine Song
Alma mater
  • Filmmaker
  • playwright
(m. 2016)

Early life and education edit

Song was born in South Korea.[1] Her parents, both artists, moved the family to Markham, Ontario, Canada when she was 12.[1][2] Her father, Song Neung-han, is a filmmaker.[3]

Song attended Queen's University in Ontario for her undergraduate degree and studied psychology, before receiving her MFA in play writing from Columbia University in New York in 2014.[4][5]

Career edit

Song's play Endlings premiered in 2019 at the American Repertory Theater. The show's off-Broadway run opened in March 2020 at New York Theatre Workshop, but was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[1] The show tells the story of three older Korean women haenyeos and a Korean-Canadian writer living in New York.[6][1] In a mixed review, Alexandra Schwartz of The New Yorker described Endlings as "two works spliced roughly together: a traditional play that seeks to depict people’s lives, and a metafictional examination of the playwright’s own motivations, which flirts with honesty before traipsing down a solipsistic path of no return."[7]

In November 2020, Song directed a live production of Chekhov's The Seagull using The Sims 4 on Twitch for New York Theatre Workshop, called The Seagull on The Sims 4.[8][1] In a review for Vulture, Helen Shaw praised the experimental play: "I think Song’s game-play/play-game managed the trick by capturing the experience not of going to a show but of working on one. At her urging, viewers brought the quality of attention that comes with collaboration, and that felt like a churning motor under everything, trying to propel the show into being."[9]

Her first television screenwriting job was as a staff writer for the first season of Amazon's The Wheel of Time.[10]

Song wrote the screenplay for Past Lives, her directorial film debut, about two childhood friends who later reunite as adults (portrayed by Greta Lee and Teo Yoo).[11] The film was produced by A24 and premiered at Sundance Film Festival on January 21, 2023.[12] The Guardian's Benjamin Lee rated it 4/5 stars and praised Song's work: "as writer, Song manages to keep her dialogue believably light-footed and spare while as director, she confidently and evocatively captures both cities with a breadth that belies her inexperience. It's a beautiful, transporting film but one made with both feet firmly on the ground."[13] Richard Lawson of Vanity Fair hailed the film as "understated and yet vast in its consideration of the slow changes of life, of the past ever whispering to the present. The film is as auspicious a debut as one can hope to see at Sundance, the announcement of a filmmaker confident in her craft and generous with her heart."[12] Alissa Wilkinson of Vox said Past Lives should be "one of 2023’s most talked-about films".[14] Her film has been compared to those of Richard Linklater, Woody Allen, and Noah Baumbach.[15][16]

Personal life edit

Song resides in New York City with her husband, writer Justin Kuritzkes.[17][18]

Filmography edit

Film edit

Year Title Director Writer Notes Ref.
2023 Past Lives Yes Yes [12]
TBA The Materialists Yes Yes Filming [19]

Television edit

Year Title Notes Ref.
2021 The Wheel of Time Staff writer; 8 episodes [1]

Theatre edit

Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2020 Endlings Playwright NYTW; February–March, 2020 [20]
2020 The Seagull on The Sims 4. Playwright NYTW; October 27–28, 2020 [21]

Accolades edit

Year Association Category Project Result
2023 Berlin International Film Festival Golden Bear Past Lives Nominated

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d e f Wong, Curtis M. (May 5, 2021). "With 'Endlings,' Celine Song Dove Deep Into Asian Identity. She Won't Be Stopping There". Huffington Post.
  2. ^ Hertz, Barry (2023-06-08). "Canada, Korea, and America walk into a bar: The international roots of Celine Song's beguiling Past Lives". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2023-06-09.
  3. ^ Kim, Ji-hye (2023). "장률·셀린 송, 베를린영화제 빛낼 반가운 이름…한국계 활약 주목". SBS Entertainment News (in Korean).
  4. ^ Rao, Mallika (2023-05-25). "Celine Song Is the One That Got Away". Vulture. Retrieved 2023-07-31.
  5. ^ "'Endlings' by Alumna Celine Song '14 Playing at New York Theatre Workshop | School of the Arts". arts.columbia.edu. Retrieved 2023-01-22.
  6. ^ Green, Jesse (2020-03-10). "Review: In 'Endlings,' the Pain of Swimming Between Worlds". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-01-22.
  7. ^ Schwartz, Alexandra (2020-03-11). ""Endlings" Questions the Legitimacy of Storytelling". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2023-01-22.
  8. ^ Vanasco, Jennifer (2020-10-27). "Is It Theater? Chekhov's 'The Seagull' Adaptation For The Sims 4 To Stream On Twitch".
  9. ^ Shaw, Helen (2020-11-15). "The Best Online Staging of Chekhov's The Seagull Is in The Sims. Really". Vulture. Retrieved 2023-01-22.
  10. ^ "Celine Song and Julia Cho on Asian American Storytelling". Department of Cultural Affairs. Retrieved 2023-01-22.
  11. ^ Kroll, Justin (2021-08-02). "Greta Lee & Teo Yoo Set To Star In A24's 'Past Lives'". Deadline. Retrieved 2023-01-22.
  12. ^ a b c Lawson, Richard (2023-01-21). "'Past Lives' Is a Note-Perfect Directorial Debut". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2023-01-22.
  13. ^ "Past Lives review – delicately sad romantic drama is a real achievement". the Guardian. 2023-01-22. Retrieved 2023-01-22.
  14. ^ "Past Lives is already one of the year's best films". Vox. Retrieved June 16, 2023.
  15. ^ "Past Lives: this astonishing debut luminously captures a world-spanning, decades-long love story". British Film Institute. Retrieved May 25, 2023.
  16. ^ "'Past Lives': Celine Song's Sundance breakout". Yahoo News. Retrieved May 25, 2023.
  17. ^ Dalton, Ben (February 19, 2023). "Celine Song talks debut feature 'Past Lives': "It's the script that convinced people I can do this"". Screen. Retrieved 2023-03-01.
  18. ^ Rao, Mallika (May 25, 2023). "Celine Song on Past Lives, Her Debut Movie". Vulture. Retrieved June 20, 2023.
  19. ^ "A24/Celine Song's 'Materialists' to Start Production This Fall". World of Reel. 2019-08-19. Retrieved 2023-06-23.
  20. ^ "NYTW / ENDLINGS". NYTW. Retrieved May 25, 2023.
  21. ^ "NYTW / THE SEAGULL ON THE SIMS 4". NYTW. Retrieved May 25, 2023.

External links edit