Bloom, whose literal Chinese translation is "flower open," explores the story of Rose, an Asian-American woman who struggles to find self acceptance in spite of a societal white beauty standard that works against her.
Completed as a senior thesis film for the Columbus College of Art and Design.
Writer/Director: Isabel Hickok
Starring: Catherine Camp, Maddie Collins, Jocelyn Tanis, Jim Foreman
Director of photography: Josh Smukal
Grip: Joe Lewis
Sound recordist: Serenity Strull
Boom operator: Janelle Moorman
Photography by Gabrielle Shamon
Bloom began as a wishlist for the movies I wanted to see growing up. It tells the story of a Chinese-American woman and how she struggles to find self acceptance in spite of a societal white beauty standard that works against her. The idea came from the fact that I had never seen such a film in my life—representation of East Asian-American women and their journey to self worth—and so I set out to make the film I needed to see when I was 9-years-old; when I was 13-years-old; when I was 17-years-old.
It was never my intention to use Bloom as a soapbox. I want people to watch Bloom and understand the Asian-American experience just a little bit more. My goal was to ground this film through conventional narrative realism with a genuine, authentic vision—a film about Asian issues by an Asian person.
I am very aware that coming to self acceptance in the face of internalized racism is not some one-and-done deal. It was important for my film to focus on the journey of self acceptance for East Asian women of color, rather than the single catalyst of it. I illustrated this through my protagonist Rose being a proxy for myself via my Chinese name, and by giving my film the title of Bloom, whose literal Chinese translation is “flower open.” I created this film with the intent to create and represent an understanding of people like me for people that are not like me. However this film best serves as a homage to East Asian-American women facing the same challenges as me, and while it may bring others to understand more about our experiences, Bloom is ultimately for them.