Kristen Stewart is being honored with the visionary award at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival opening night gala, a prize that is a bit unusual for the actor to accept. Speaking to Variety‘s Angelique Jackson, Stewart said her job is to serve the vision of filmmakers and not to always have her own sense of vision.
“When I saw that I was being given the visionary award I was like, ‘What a word!’” Stewart said during Variety On The Carpet, presented by DIRECTV. “As an actor, you’re not often glorified for your vision. You fit into other people’s visions and service their efforts and their endeavors and the messages they want to get across.”
“Actors feel like little soldiers for other people’s causes,” she continued. “Coming to this festival and continuing that march, it’s a truly…it’s the apex of where you want to get. If you make an indie…movie in America and you get to go to Sundance, you’ve arrived. That’s the goal.”
Stewart has two movies world premiering at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival: “Love Lies Bleeding” and “Love Me.” But she also has another purpose while on the ground in Park City, Utah. Stewart is currently looking for financing for her long-in-the-works feature directorial effort “The Chronology of Water.”
“Well that’s why we’re here!” Stewart said when asked if her phone has started ringing with financing for the movie. “I wish I had more to say on that. I’m going to make that fucking movie!”
Stewart revealed to Variety ahead of the Sundance Film Festival that she’s no longer interested in making new projects until she gets “The Chronology of Water” off the ground.
“I’m going to make this movie before I ever work for someone else,” she said. “Yeah, I will quit the fucking business. I won’t make a-fucking-nother movie until I make this movie. I will tell you that, for sure. I think that will get things going.”
While she’s waiting on financing, Stewart said she’s fairly certain she’ll make the feature and shoot it in Europe.
“I feel like I could walk through a wall right now because — I’m going to tip my hand, because that’s what I do — I just scouted this movie, and I saw places, and people, and faces, and locations that opened themselves up to me and didn’t have big no’s on them, and I was just bawling the entire time,” Stewart added. “I can’t wait to go to fucking Sundance. I can’t wait to make my movie.”
Stewart was honored alongside “Oppenheimer” filmmaker Christopher Nolan (with the inaugural Sundance Institute trailblazer award), “Past Lives” writer-director Celine Song (with the vanguard award for fiction), “The Eternal Memory” documentary filmmaker Maite Alberdi (with the vanguard award for nonfiction) and journalist and producer Pat Mitchell (with the vanguard award for philanthropy).
It’s a full circle moment for Song, who debuted the Oscars contender before the Park City audience just last year. The film picked up 3 BAFTA nominations on Thursday morning, marking the next milestone on this surreal journey.
“This place was the beginning of it all,” Song said on the red carpet. “A year ago, I was just so nervous walking around Main Street, and then standing in the greenroom being like, ‘Is anybody going to like this movie?’ I liked the movie, but do they like the movie. … What an amazing, amazing honor to be back here, knowing the life that ‘Past Lives’ was able to have.”
“Past Lives” producer Christine Vachon teased that Song is already in the works on her next film, which is eyeing a spring production start.
“I plead the fifth, but I really really can’t wait to talk to you about that film,” Song said, coyly declining to divulge more details about the project.
While we might not know who will star in Song’s sophomore film, Song and Greta Lee recently told Variety that Billie Eilish’s music inspired Nora’s characterization in “Past Lives.” Amid the awards season circuit, the trio have met and discussed it.
“We all have now run into that now and it’s the coolest,” Song said. And knowing that Eilish wants to act more, she’s not shooting down the prospect of working together. “I think she was amazing in [‘Swarm’].”