Thanks to Refinery29
Through this short, which was showcased last year to rave reviews at the Sundance Film Festival and Cannes, Stewart joins the growing number of industry women who’ve boldly claimed the director’s chair, moving behind the camera to tell a story that’s just as darkly alluring as you’d expect. A journey through the imagination’s wild currents, Come Swim conjures a kaleidoscopic portrait of one man’s emotional interior, complete with unbounded darkness and desire. At once starkly real and beguilingly impressionistic, the film resonates as an electric meditation on anxiety and heartbreak.
Since bursting onto the Hollywood scene as the universe’s favorite mortal teenager, Stewart has always shone as an industry game-changer, even when surrounded by a sea of brooding, rakish vampires. As an actor, she’s conquered a series of high-profile roles, including parts in star-studded films ranging from Woody Allen’s nostalgic romp through Tinseltown, Café Society, and Oscar darling Still Alice. She’s also the first American to win France’s prestigious César award for her performance in 2014’s Clouds of Sils Maria. And in 2016, she dazzled audiences in the unsettlingly beautiful Personal Shopper — a supernatural thriller from acclaimed director Olivier Assayas, who took home Best Director at Cannes for the film.
WWD.com : Kristen Stewart’s short “Come Swim” marks the actress’s directorial debut, turning a vision she had in her head for some time into a film now available for streaming globally.
Stewart was on hand Thursday evening briefly speaking about the film’s creation and the thinking behind it following a private screening at the Westside Pavilion. “Come Swim” tracks a day in the life of a man grappling with a broken heart, delving inside his personal thoughts and emotions that become so crippling before he eventually comes to and realizes he will be fine.
“It was like when you are so in your own head,” Stewart explained to those in attendance at the screening. “You have things, feelings that, in a really cliché way, are feelings you just think nobody could possibly relate to. Yet, they’re the most standard. There’s not, like, a thought or a feeling you’re going to have that nobody’s had before you, but somehow when you’re in that, you’re so alone. I wanted to be able to really step inside someone’s head and externalize that and then be able to take a step back afterwards and be like from the outside we see you so clearly.”
Water plays a symbolic role in the film, the idea of which Stewart said had been stuck in her head for some time.
“It started with just the idea that somebody might be laying in a totally inhospitable place, such as the bottom of the ocean and yet be so happy and so content doing that and wondering why that may be he case,” Stewart said. “We initially immerse [the main character] in the most hydrated environment possible, yet he’s absorbing none of it. [It] was something I couldn’t get out of my head and then I let it expand into [this].”
The piece, which was earlier shown at the Sundance Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival, is part of Refinery 29’s Shatterbox Anthology short film series which looks to specifically highlight work from female filmmakers.
“When we launched Shatterbox Anthology over a year-and-a-half ago we were hoping for a moment like this,” Refinery 29 chief content officer Amy Emmerich said while on stage at the preview with Stewart, “where women absolutely have a seat at the table and voices like this is exactly what you’re hearing: her full creative freedom. Her voice. Her pictures. No notes. This.”
NY Times : Kristen Stewart’s directing ambitions go all the way back to when she was an 11-year-old performing in the 2002 David Fincher thriller “Panic Room.”
“I was working with Jodie Foster and I was like, ‘I’m going to direct. I’m going to be the youngest director that exists,'” Stewart recalled in an interview. When she, years later, told Foster she was finally making something, Stewart says, “She was like, ‘Dude, the first thing you’re going to realize is that you have nothing to learn.”
It took longer than Stewart expected, but she has now made a short film titled “Come Swim.” Following premieres at the Sundance Film Festival and the Cannes Film Festival, “Come Swim” debuted Friday on the women’s entertainment and lifestyles website Refinery29.
The film announces Stewart’s filmmaking ambitions and opens a new chapter in the fast-moving career of the 27-year-old actress. Stewart is already developing several other projects, including a script she’s writing that’s an adaptation of a memoir (Stewart declined to say whose). She’s taking two months off acting to write it, and she also hopes to turn “Come Swim” into a feature-length film.
“It’s my first step into something I’ve wanted to for a really long time,” said Stewart.
Stewart spoke in a pair of interviews — one on a balcony in Cannes in May, the other by phone on Thursday. As to the recent sexual harassment scandals that have swamped Hollywood, Stewart pointed to her speech last month at Elle’s Women in Hollywood event, where she spoke about the less-noticed harassment of below-the-line crew members. Stewart declined to add to those comments Thursday but acknowledged the industry’s gender imbalances behind the camera have been on her mind.
“I’m so fortunate to be able to have made this movie because it’s obviously tougher for women to be heard,” said Stewart. “I’m obviously deeply proud of anyone who’s able to express themselves freely and it’s awesome that we’re living in a time where they can.”
“Come Swim” isn’t your standard actor-made directorial debut. It’s an 18-minute metaphorical rendering of a feeling, of the overwhelming oppression of heartbreak and grief. A man is submerged, literally, by water everywhere. Stewart describes the film as about “aggrandized pain” and says its imagery has haunted her for four years.
“You don’t realize when you’re trudging through that water, you feel so alone,” says Stewart. “We’ve all been there. But when you’re in it, you feel like you can’t participate in life.”
In many ways, “Come Swim” reflects something essential about Stewart: she is hyper alert to her surroundings and her emotions. It’s a quality that has probably helped make her, in the eyes of many, a performer of twitchy, alive sensitivity.
“I am so sensitive it drives me crazy,” says Stewart. “It’s funny (that) the first movie I wanted to make was basically just a movie about somebody who is like, ‘You don’t get it! It’s horrible!'”
Getting behind the camera was also a way for Stewart to be the kind of director she herself appreciates — one who favors discovery over heavily-scripted control.
“The worst is when directing becomes correcting,” she says. “It’s like: ‘Do it all yourself then. Why are you even making movies?’ I don’t want packaged and delivered ideas.”
“Come Swim,” abstract and impressionistic, is certainly not that. For an actress who remains a considerable box-office draw, her film is little concerned with matching audience expectations.
Right now, she’s trying to carve out more time for directing — a challenge for a performer drawn to jumping from project to project. Making “Come Swim,” she says, is the most fun she’s had on a set.
“I was making movies before I was watching (a lot) of movies,” she says. “So I knew how significant it was to protect something precious really young. I saw people doing it and it seemed like this honor-bound commitment that everyone shared and there was one person spearheading it. When a movie’s really good, there’s a singular, very particular perspective that everyone is servicing, and I always just wanted to hold that.”