Aug 23, 2017

Water Colors

It started with an idea in actress Kristen Stewart's mind. The image was of a man sleeping at the bottom of the ocean and she explored it through poetry and painting and then, last year, in her directorial debut, the 17-minute short, "Come Swim." The film, produced by David Shapiro, brought in cinematographer John Gulesarian ("Friends from College," "Casual") to contribute his cinematic aesthetic to the material, which seems at first glance like everyday kinds of scenes – an office workspace, the living area in a house, a beach – but comes together into an artistic vision. It was shown in the 70th Anniversary Events section of the 2017 Cannes Film Festival and was also screened to enthusiastic audiences at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

EFilm Colorist Natasha Leonnet was delighted to work on such an unusual film. Once a student of non-traditional cinema at Brown University, Leonnet has always been interested in what some might call experimental filmmaking. Of "Come Swim," she says, "It presents a new way of seeing things. It was a very interesting project that took me back to my schooling when we studied filmmakers who were not creating linear stories."

Stewart, she recalls, though directing for the first time, "had definite ideas about how everything should look. I did a pass interpreting the images and then the filmmakers presented their ideas and that's how we found the final look. It was very important to Kristen and John that nothing look like we did color correction. It couldn't feel at all like anything had been digitally manipulated.

"I really like that the film breaks rules and defies the expectations of narrative filmmaking," Leonnet sums up.


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