A leading figure in both independent and women's filmmaking since the early 1980s, director Susan Seidelman leapt to prominence with her smart, angsty drama "Smithereens" (1982), which paved the way for her greatest screen success, "Desperately Seeking Susan" (1985), featuring Madonna on the cusp of superstardom. Both films hinged around women confronting society's requirements to conform to traditional female roles by pursuing their own dreams, no matter how offbeat or impossible the goal might seem. This central thesis also informed most, if not all of Seidelmen's subsequent work, including the comedies "Making Mr. Right" (1987) and "She-Devil" (1989), as well as the pilot for "Sex and the City" (HBO, 1998-2004) and "Boynton Beach Club," which honed its focus to the lives of women in their senior years. Though she never quite reclaimed the success of "Susan" with another feature, Seidelman worked steadily throughout her two-decade-long career in a variety of genres while applying her own aesthetic to each of her projects. In doing so, she transcended the typical Hollywood model of "hits" and "flops" to present instead a body of work regarded more for its quality and integrity than its box-office returns.