By Melissa Romualdi.

Leave it to Taylor Swift to please fans with a few unexpected twists. During the singer’s “Tribeca Talks With Taylor Swift” event at Tribeca Festival in New York, Swift brought out surprise guests and even performed during the “talk-only” scheduled event.

After the screening of her short film music video “All To Well”, based on the 10-minute version of the song of the same name from Swift’s re-recorderd version of her album Red, the singer had a half-hour conversation about filmmaking with writer-director Mike Mills.

She described her directing tactics of “intentionally withholding information from cast and crew” as “secret-agent-y,” quoting late director John Cassavetes.


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Swift gave Mills a shoutout for directing the longform video for “I Am Easy to Find” by The National, because it “really inspired” her to create “All Too Well” in ways she “can’t possibly overstate.” She added that her and Mills are “both members of the Aaron Dessner cinematic universe!” acknowledging the rock band’s guitarist, Dessner, whose been a recent key collaborator with Swift.

Taylor Swift arrives to Beacon Theater for her event during Tribeca Festival.
Taylor Swift arrives to Beacon Theater for her event during Tribeca Festival.
— Photo: RCF/ MEGA

The “Begin Again” singer went on to explain how her entry into the world of directing stemmed from the fact that “I was not able to own my work.”

Although she spared the details, Swift was referring to her inability to have a say in how her past recordings were marketed or packaged after Scooter Braun’s purchase and 2020 resale of Big Machine Label Group, which controlled most of her master recordings.

“It was a very hard time for me,” Swift said of losing control over her work. “A lot of my hardest moments and moments of extreme grief or loss were galvanized into what my life looks like now.”


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During the second half of Swift’s 90-minute event, Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brien, who star as the main couple in “All Too Well” were brought onstage, ultimately surprising the audience.

O’Brien noted that the video, which dramatizes the couple’s “failure to communicate,” sees him and Sink’s characters “repeat” themselves.

“We go in circles,” he said, explaining that in a conventional project, that kind of repetition would often get cut.

“But that’s what makes it,” Swift added. “The other person isn’t hearing you say it, so you say it this way. Maybe you say it louder. … You’re trying to be heard.”

Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively also surprised fans with their attendance at Swift’s event.

Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively attend Taylor Swift’s Tribeca Festival screening event.
Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively attend Taylor Swift’s Tribeca Festival screening event.
— Photo: RCF/ MEGA


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When asked about the possibility of directing a feature film, Swift said, “I would love to.”

“It would be so fantastic to write and direct something,” she shared, acknowledging her “privilege in even being able to pick up a camera,” given the fact that Swift fully financed the short film, something very few emerging filmmakers, especially women, are able to do.

Closing the event, Swift pulled off one final surprise with her “All Too Well (Taylor’s Version)” acoustic performance.

 





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Ellen Bullock