The Cannes Film Festival 2017, opens May 17.

It wasn’t surprising for producer David Allen Shapiro that Kristen Stewart, who grew up in the film industry as a child actress, would speak the language of a filmmaker. According to Kristen,  when she was young, she didn’t dream of becoming an actress, she dreamt of making films.

Her first attempt at directing is the spellbinding short film Come Swim, that garnered rave reviews at Sundance and won her a spot in the 70th Anniversary Events Section of the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, opening Wednesday May 17.

Come Swim stretches the boundaries of filmmaking. It is a ‘manifestation of an emotion’, (Stewart’s words from an IMDB Sundance Studio interview with Kevin Wilson). She was fixated on externalizing an internal feeling, the universality of feeling your pain, the feeling of the contentment one feels when they can run away, be isolated, away from everything, then she created this feeling – a man who has the ability to sleep at the bottom of the ocean!

Stewart pondered this concept for years, making drawings and writing poems. Talk about great timing, she was able to sidestep CGI by utilizing a revolutionary neural style transfer technique,  a type of artificial intelligence which reconfigures images, to transfer her painting to the filmed images during the opening and closing sequences of the movie. Timed with the Come Swim premiere at Sundance, the research paper Bringing Impressionism to Life with Neural Style Transfer, that Stewart co-authored with the films producer David Shapiro and Adobe research engineer  Bhautik J Joshi detailing the A.I methodology was dropped for the Sundance Film Festival premiere on the Cornell University library website.

The film stars Josh Kaye and Sydney Lopez.

Stewart said the creative experience was ‘joyous’ and that it didn’t feel like a heavy burden, with all the responsibility on her shoulders, “As each person brought their best to making something special, it just started to effortlessly rise. I didn’t create this film by myself, we all shared equally”.

Being called a ‘stunning piece of work’, it’s prestigious reception hopefully guarantees that we will be seeing some ground breaking features from Kristen Stewart. Her advice to female’s wanting to break into the industry “Just make stuff.”

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