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The 2018 So Good Asian Film and Food Festival winner for Best Picture was Bloom. Bloom is a psychological thriller about a retired teacher obsessed with gardening who receives a letter from a former student and is forced to confront her past. The short film was produced by a local team consisting of director Aniwat Pluemjit, screenwriter Shanna Fujii, director of photography Corey Hour, actress Sylvie Cohen, actor Nader Abushhab, second camera operator Glen Goldblatt, audio Josh Morrison, gaffer Jacob Glass, and behind-the-scenes videographer Cemdost Kilic. Hear from a few of the team members about their experiences on their award-winning film.


How was being a director different from your previous roles on set?

I started out as a photographer then moved into cinematography. I worked on sets as first AC (camera assistant) and have been director of photography. As a director, I got to guide how the film was told and how to push the story forward.

When directing actors, are you more of a visual or verbal director?

As a director, you have to convey your messages verbally and visually. I tend to talk with my hands, so I like to step into the actor’s place and show them an idea I have and then direct them through it verbally later.

What about this project made you want to direct the film?

I got a chance to direct a film with a team I knew could support me. It is best to work with a team you know and trust to help guide and creatively push the story forward.


How long did it take to write the script?

I started writing Bloom back in June. I stopped though because I never thought anything would come of it. After the festival was announced, I mentioned my idea to Corey Hour and he said he'd film it. Everything from the script, casting, location scouting, assembling a crew, and filming all occurred in about two weeks.

How did you come up with the idea?

Originally, I came up with this idea (or more accurately, the ending of the story) based on a craft project I wanted to make. I can’t say more than that because it would give too much away, but the craft was intended for a garden and is loosely related to teaching, which is why Mae, the main character, is a retired teacher obsessed with gardening. The original storyline changed from what it currently is, but that’s where the idea first sprouted. (Pun intended).

What was it like seeing your idea go from script to screen?

This has been the most surreal, most incredible experience. Watching words you’ve written on paper physically come to life through actors, camera operators, lighting, set was astounding to witness and my heart still flitters when I think about it. I am infinitely thankful to the Bloom crew and the owners of the location, JB and Diane, for their talents and great hearts. Truly, truly lucky.


What is the director of photography responsible for?

They are responsible for the imagery, lighting, motion and overall look and feel of the film. They work together with the director and the rest of the crew to achieve the desired look.

What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?

Time constraints. We shot the entire film within 10 hours in one day. We also worked with the natural glow and gorgeous sunset lighting in the garden and the rooms. When that was gone, we crafted our own lighting to make it appear to be 4pm when in reality, it was 7pm.

How did you achieve the final look you envisioned for the film?

We worked together to shape the light, set design, and costume design to create the perfect visuals. We walked around set a few times before production and shared photos and ideas amongst each other. We had a dream location and an impressive team, and we accomplished what we set out to do!


What drew you to this project?

A director I previously worked with saw the casting notice and contacted me. I was attracted by the character description and that it was a psychological thriller. I seem to be drawn to this type of character, they are usually interesting and challenging.

What did you do to get into character for this role?

The detailed description in the script, the location pictures, and the communication about wardrobe allowed me to visualize the character in her world. For some of the scenes, I really had to put myself in a very dark place with thoughts that would upset me.

What was the most rewarding part of playing the main character?

Freedom! Initially, I was unaware I would be the main (or only) actor. Becoming this eccentric woman just felt right. It was a very creative role and was a new experience because there was no dialogue, only voiceover. I felt lucky and honored to help bring Bloom to life.

vic reid