Kristen Stewart

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.”

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