Come Swim

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Come Swim
Come Swim poster.jpg
Film poster
Directed byKristen Stewart
Produced byDavid Ethan Shapiro
StarringJosh Kaye
CinematographyJohn Guleserian
Edited byJacob Secher Schulsinger
Music bySt. Vincent
Distributed byRefinery 29
Release date
  • January 19, 2017 (2017-01-19) (Sundance)
Running time
17 minutes
CountryUnited States

Come Swim is a 2017 American short film written and directed by Kristen Stewart.[1] It was shown in the 70th Anniversary Events section at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival,[2][3] and was part of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.[4] The short was produced by David E. Shapiro of Starlight Studios, who worked with Stewart for a period of approximately three years.[1] The film was streamed from November 10, 2017.[5]


Josh Kaye is the only acting cast of the film. Sydney Lopez provides voice-over.[6]


Within a paper published on the subject of a technique developed especially for the creation of the film, the film is described as "a poetic, impressionistic portrait of a heartbroken man underwater ... the film is grounded in a painting of a man rousing from sleep".[7] The Cannes Film Festival described the film as: "a diptych of one man's day; half Impressionist and half realist portraits".[8] Little White Lies thought the film was about loss.[9]

Cannes Suisse listed the film as Réalité Virtuelle.[10] Next projection identified the film as experimental.[11]

Film concept[edit]

The idea of the film originated in ("is grounded in"[12]) a painting by Stewart of “a man rousing from sleep”.[13] In a paper co-authored by Stewart, a description of reaction to the "impressionistic" painting states it “evokes the thoughts an individual has in the first moments of waking, (fading in-between dreams and reality)... ” A subsequent exploration correspondent to this painterly thematic element is explored within the film during the introductory and final scenes.[12]

More-over, in accordance to the painting, the original concept for the film came from an image in the mind of Stewart of "...a person sleeping contently on the bottom of the ocean floor, and getting such satisfaction from that isolation..."[14] For Stewart, her film is, amongst other things, about an experience of heartbreak (otherwise expressed by her as an "existential netherworld").[15]


In order to create the piece, Stewart, together with film producer David Ethan Shapiro and Bhautik Joshi at Adobe Inc., innovated a technique described as neural style transfer; a technique detailed in a paper submitted on January 18, 2017 to Cornell University Library online, and subsequently classified at the library as Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition.[16][17]

Kristen Stewart partnered with Refinery29 in the production of the work.[18] David Ethan Shapiro, the CEO of Starlight Studios, situated within Los Angeles,[19] was producer.[20]

The film uses a score composed by St. Vincent.[21]

Stewart used John Guleserian for cinematography,[22] and Framestore to produce the visual effects.[23]

Release and reception[edit]

The film was first screened at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival on January 19, 2017.[4] Next projection identified the film as portraying in part something described as "nightmarish".[24] Robbie Collin from The Telegraph awarded it four stars out of five saying: "It’s an earnest, sombre, often unsubtle work – but it’s also disciplined, sharply coherent, and cine-literate in an old-fashioned surrealist way."[25] Matt Hoffman from Little White Lies (magazine) found minor issues with the script, but nevertheless praised the short: "Come Swim is a beautiful looking piece of work. With the help of cinematographer John Guleserian, Stewart has crafted a rapturous visual wonder that far outshines the deficiencies of the screenplay."[26]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Festival de Cannes, K.J. Stewart - Catalogue Festival de Cannes Accessed May 21, 2017
  2. ^ "The 2017 Official Selection". Cannes. April 13, 2017. Retrieved April 13, 2017.
  3. ^ "2017 Cannes Film Festival Announces Lineup: Todd Haynes, Sofia Coppola, 'Twin Peaks' and More". IndieWire. April 13, 2017. Retrieved April 13, 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Kristen Stewart ('Come Swim' Director) on Female Directors". The Hollywood Reporter. January 20, 2017. Retrieved April 15, 2017.
  5. ^ Kristen Stewart, refinery29 - Streaming: Come Swim Refinery29 Accessed November 27, 2017
  6. ^ "Sundance 2017: Kristen Stewart to Direct Full-Length Feature Film". Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  7. ^ Hawksley, Rupert (October 29, 2017). "Kristen Stewart has co-written a scientific paper on Artificial Intelligence – and the tech world couldn't be happier". Retrieved October 29, 2017 – via
  8. ^ Details of film
  9. ^ "Come Swim – first look review". Little White Lies. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  10. ^ Canal+ Suisse, K.J Stewart - Site Canal+ Suisse Accessed May 20, 2017
  11. ^ review
  12. ^ a b Joshi (Research Engineer), Stewart (Director), Shapiro (Producer) (January 18, 2017) - Bringing Impressionism to life with Neaural Style transfer in the film Come Swim Accessed November 23, 2017
  13. ^ A. Pulver - Kristen Stewart co-authors research paper on 'pioneering' film technique The Guardian January 20, 2017 Retrieved November 21, 2017
  14. ^ G. Mumford (May 22, 2017) - Article The Guardian Accessed May 27, 2017
  15. ^ M. Stout (January 23, 2017) - Interview with Kristen Stewart refinery29 Accessed 27th, 2017
  16. ^ A. D' Alessandro, K.J. Stewart - Kristen Stewart on her directorial debut: Come Swim Deadline Hollywood, 2017, January 21 Consulted April 29, 2017
  17. ^ B. Joshi, K. Stewart, D. Shapiro - arXiv:1701.04928v1 Cornell University Library Retrieved April 29, 2017
  18. ^ K.J. Stewart, Refinery29 - Review of short film by Kristen J.Stewart Refinery29 Retrieved April 27, 2017
  19. ^ Starlight Studios - facebook page Accessed November 24, 2017
  20. ^ DE Shapiro, K.J. Stewart - Biographical Starlight studios Accessed May 21, 2017
  21. ^ Kyle Buchanan (January 20, 2017) - Article Vulture Accessed May 6, 2017
  22. ^ "Come Swim (2017)". ACMI. Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  23. ^ "So How Did Kristen Stewart's Directorial Debut Hold Up at Sundance?". January 19, 2017. Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  24. ^ C. Rottger - review Next projection May 28, 2017 Accessed May 30, 2017
  25. ^ Collin, Robbie (May 21, 2017). "Kristen Stewart's debut short Come Swim screens at Cannes 2017 - and it's no ordinary first film". Retrieved October 29, 2017 – via
  26. ^ "Come Swim – first look review". Little White Lies. Retrieved October 29, 2017.

External links[edit]