Off the back of its “Actors on Actors” series, Variety just announced the lineup of filmmakers who will be taking part in this year’s “Directors on Directors” collection.
In case you aren’t familiar with the series, two directors — typically, who’ve both released projects in the past year — are given the opportunity to interview one another about their careers.
This year, 12 directors will pair up and sit for the video interviews, including James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez, and Sarah Polley and Francis Ford Coppola.
However, leading the charge in the premiere episode on Dec. 12 will first be Taylor Swift, alongside Academy Award winner and two-time nominee Martin McDonagh.
If you’re not a fan of Taylor’s, you might be wondering how the singer has made her way onto such a prestigious lineup of directors — but don’t worry, you aren’t alone.
Taylor will be there to discuss “All Too Well: The Short Film” — the 15-minute music video starring Dylan O’Brien and Sadie Sink that she directed to accompany the release of her song of the same name.
Since its release in November last year, the short film has garnered major acclaim among both fans and critics, with Taylor even presenting the project at Toronto International Film Festival back in September.
This — and the fact that she’s only an Oscar and a Tony away from EGOT status — has prompted the widespread assumption that Taylor is hoping to bag an Academy Award for the project. And therefore, taking part in “Directors on Directors” is the next logical step to stir up some buzz before the nominations are announced next month.
With all this in mind, plenty of people are still not pleased with the news that Taylor will be featured in the series, with hundreds of users taking to Twitter to react to the announcement.
One of the primary concerns among fans was that Taylor could be depriving other directors of some much-needed exposure and an opportunity to platform their work.
“No disrespect but c'mon @Variety,” one person wrote. “Taylor Swift made a music video/short film. How about inviting a filmmaker who's been struggling for a while, who might really need some additional shine to their project, or themselves as filmmakers?”
“this taylor swift thing pissing me off actually like i literally work on short film festivals do u know how fucking much it would take for a short film director to get this kind of exposure like the amount of directors i've met that have been making shorts for years,” someone else added.
On top of this, others suggested that it would’ve been a great opportunity to platform more women directors, naming a ton of filmmakers whose work in the past year had seemingly been overlooked in favor of Taylor’s short film.
And despite also directing several of her other music videos, there’s also a question of how much Taylor actually knows about filmmaking and how her experience making “All Too Well” will level up against her interview partner, Martin McDonagh, with one person asking: “Were literally every other female movie director busy that day? … You have a [Best Picture] Oscar nominated director being interviewed by someone who has directed music videos.”
With this in mind, many were quick to bring up the privilege at play, arguing that a person with as comparatively little filmmaking experience as Taylor being featured in the series is “insulting” to other directors.
“i’m sry but it’s actually insulting to these directors that taylor swift is a part of this,” one person tweeted. “she directed a ten minute music video. short film direction is great. but she directed one music video for an album. can she speak to the directorial experience as these dir. can?”
“So many talented directors who are there because of years of struggles in honing the craft of filmmaking and then there is Taylor Swift being parachuted thanks to some sort of privilege, lobbying, favours,” another echoed.
And circling back to what is presumably the purpose of the interview, one person wrote that her “quest for new additions to her trophy cabinet” is “trampling over” the work of other directors.
In agreement, another person accused Taylor of using her “stardom” to try and bag an Oscar purely for her collection, noting that the short film categories are often used “by independent filmmakers to get their name out” and seek funding for their work.
But, of course, not everyone shares the same outrage, with tons of fans speaking out to celebrate that Taylor is being recognized for her creativity and storytelling.
“people in the quote tweets acting like Taylor is ‘taking up another women’s spot’ you are sooo close to getting it try again!” one user wrote. “she also brings a unique perspective to the roster: mastering the combination of visual media and music; building a directing career during covid. there are different niches in the industry of interest and value.”
Someone else fought back against claims that Taylor secured her spot through her “fame and branding” and not by hard work, arguing that she is “THE person who would take the time to learn and respect a craft.”
And it goes without saying that if there’s one thing that isn’t up for debate, it’s that Taylor certainly knows a thing or two about telling a story.
“taylor swift absolutely deserves to be here i don’t care what ANY of y’all have to say, she has a natural talent when it comes to storytelling and spent years observing and learning abt directing,” one fan tweeted. “no amount of twitter quotes crying will make her any less successful and talented!”
Variety’s “Directors on Directors” series will premiere on Dec. 12 with Taylor and Martin’s interview.