What is Bloom about?
“Bloom” is a claymation short film about a girl who faces a haunting incident of sexual assault and is challenged to come to terms with the shame, trauma, and guilt that resides within it. Using various metaphors and abstract imagery, I aimed to find the most authentic way to showcase what goes on inside the heads of those who have had similar experiences. I wanted to expose the raw process – the process that can be so challenging to articulate that it is easier to stay silent, and I wanted to provide it with depth, meaning, and clarity for those who may not even know it exists! Ultimately, Bloom is my own healing process, and I truly see this film as an act of me taking everything life has dumped on me and finally screaming, “I RESPECT MYSELF!”
What did you find most difficult about the making of Bloom?
The process of making “Bloom” has got to be one of the most vigorous things I have put myself through, although I think the most difficult part was figuring out how to execute it. This story took multiple forms in my head; I attempted to make many different narrative screenplays and even a documentary, but I was having a very challenging time following through on them. I was so puzzled on why these concepts were so difficult for me to conceive; this was such an important story that I had to share! I wanted to inspire people to speak up and help them move past situations that they have gone through, but I soon realized that I hadn’t done what I needed to in order to move past a situation that really affected me. It was suddenly apparent that these things were easier said than done, and I knew that I had to do them for myself before I could have the ability to support other people. Long story short, I decided to shoot “Bloom” as a claymation film. This was my first full claymation film and the only word I can use to describe it is tedious! And strenuous. And absolutely miserable. In fact, the last time I did claymation back in middle school, I forced everyone in my life to promise never to let me do it again. Ultimately, once I dove into it, I realized that I had no idea how to do anything, but more prominently, I didn’t think I would ever be able to see this film through. I remember breaking down on the icy floor of my garage and sobbing, practically exploding because of how defeated I felt. I squeezed the frigid clay in my fists like a stress ball because I couldn’t see any light at the end of the deep dark tunnel; not even a sliver. Everyone could see the toll it was taking on me; even my mom was telling me to take a break and put it aside for a little bit, not because she didn’t think I could do it, but because I was dull. How could I not be – I was pouring all of my color into this clay. The only thing that kept me going was that I knew my efforts would show, I knew that I could help others feel a little less alone, and I knew that as I uncurled that clay purple flower, frame by frame, that I would bloom along with it. This was part of my journey, and I wanted more than anything to keep moving forward. Pain is temporary, but art is a permanent stamp – a ripple – lasting as close to forever as we can get!
If you could do it all over again, would you do anything differently?
Honestly, if I had to do “Bloom” all over again, I wouldn’t do anything differently. Obviously there are things that could have made it a lot easier on my sanity – I could have started earlier so I wasn’t stressing to meet the deadline, I could have gotten help from people who were actually experienced in claymation, I could have saved myself from the brutal process, but in hindsight, the brutal process was my favorite part. I have always believed that there is the reasoning behind the things that happen to us, or more so, that we can create our own sense of reasoning. This process completely tested my beliefs altogether. I remember sitting on the green stringy rug on my bedroom floor with a cutting board and wire skeleton before me, just feeling completely stumped on what to do. I had to construct the main character for my film, but I couldn’t figure out how. This was the first time I recall feeling like I was not where I was meant to be, and it was the worst feeling in the world. I had no sense of harmony whatsoever until a few weeks later. It was 12 a.m. the night before finals, and I had just wrapped on “Bloom.” I danced and beamed as tears streamed down my face because I could recall the worst feeling in the world, and at this moment, I felt the greatest. So bare with me – I am going to get very specific, but I want to articulate the magic of this situation in as much detail as possible. So I began coming down and getting ready for bed. I curled up in my sheets and checked my phone; the time was 12:17 a.m, and the date had just turned December 17th, 2019. I opened Snapchat and it gave me one of those “2 years ago today” memories, so I clicked on it. On this exact day, 2 years prior, was the day that I was sexually assaulted. The dates lined up so simultaneously and so magically, and at that moment, I was in awe at how in sync I felt with my surroundings. This is the long way of saying that no matter how much I went through, it all panned out exactly how it was meant to, so there isn’t a thing I would go back and shift. Life has a pretty wondrous way of proving that you are indeed where you are meant to be, you just have to pay attention enough to notice it.
Any ideas you want to share about your next film?
I am in the very very early pre-production stages of a new film; there is not much to say about it yet, but it has to do with all the children’s stories I used to be obsessed with! I am preparing to take the early 2000s babies (and parents) down memory lane.
What are you excited about right now?
Life is good right now, and there is a lot to be excited about! I have been trying to add more depth to my everyday routine and have been testing the waters with some new forms of art. Making earrings is really enjoyable, as well as collaging and writing poetry (as of lately). Overall, I am most anticipating a trip to Italy over the summer! I will be staying with a host family and judging a film festival; it truly sounds like the most life-changing experience, but also the most terrifying, especially for me. I am a massive homebody, but at the same time, I adore being terrified, so I am very excited.