On Saturday, Taylor Swift screened her ten-minute short film for her hit song “All Too Well” at the Beacon Theater as part of the Tribeca Film Festival. Fans would probably be excited enough just to see that on the big screen, but Swift herself arrived in style to offer a talk back following the projection. Deadline reports the evening was pretty spectacular and even included a surprise acoustic performance of the song for the enthralled audience by Swift.
The music video was Swift’s film directorial debut. She and writer-director Mike Mills discussed the process and some things she discovered about her ambitions through the project. The song itself is allegedly based on her brief relationship with actor Jake Gyllenhaal and the music video stars Stranger Things actress Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brien. As a surprise, the onscreen couple came out towards the end of the event. Though they didn’t discuss her real life former romance, they did discuss how the fight scene in the middle of the video was largely improvised.
“We repeat ourselves — we go in circles, you know?” O’Brien explained, saying the extra stuff got cut. “But that’s what makes it.” Swift expanded on the idea of communication generally and how repetitive these types of conflicts in relationships can get. “The other person isn’t hearing you say it, so you say it this way,” she explained. “Maybe you say it louder. You’re trying to be heard. It’s the failure to communicate.”
Mills asked Swift if she’d be interested in directing more long form pieces, or even a feature film. “I would love to,” she said. “It would be so fantastic to write and direct something,” though it would likely be a project with a human scale akin to ‘All Too Well.’” She added that she financed the short film herself and acknowledged that it was a “privilege in even being able to pick up a camera,” since not many filmmakers have that kind of access. But Swift alluded to the lack of creative control she felt when Scooter Braun purchased control of her master recordings.
“I was not able to own my work,” Swift said, explaining why that pushed her not only re-recording all of her music, but to get bigger in her ambitions and artistic journey.
“It was a very hard time for me,” she said. “A lot of my hardest moments and moments of extreme grief or loss were galvanized into what my life looks like now.”