Bloom follows Lily and Flor, a pair who meet at the local florist whilst one is at work and the other is new in town. Their friendship grows as the title suggests, but so do romantic feelings. It was an aesthetic masterpiece, something that could be paused at any moment and appreciated for the colours, costumes and minor details. It’s a typical coming of age film with emotional and intelligent characters, however what makes it stand out is that it is an LGBTQ+ story and has received so many comments from viewers explaining how needed and wanted this sort of film is.
I messaged the writer/director/editor of the film, Gracie Flores, asking if I could chat with her about it, so here is my conversation with her.
Hi Gracie, first of all, I want to congratulate you on Bloom. I know you never intended for it to be made, it just came about as something to write over summer. Can you tell us a little more about the ideas for it, and then when/why you decided to bring it to life?
Hello, and thanks so much for this opportunity! Bloom was a script I wrote in the summer of 2020, which was when I was starting to question my sexuality. The pandemic forced me to really get to know myself better. I was really confused about my feelings, about what they meant and whether they were valid.
Bloom was inspired by my personal life. I’ve always felt more comfortable around girls, but I noticed that I got super nervous around certain people. I always pushed it away as my anxiety, but now I realize that it was because I liked them. I feel like this is something that a lot of wlw people in the community struggle with– the idea of either wanting to be her, befriend her, or actually date her. Flor is essentially an extension of who I am and what I was feeling. And the reason I write scripts is because they help me figure out my feelings and navigate what’s going on in my head.
Bloom was my journey in doing just that– accepting myself as a queer individual. I decided to produce it because I figured that there are so many young people in the world who are in the exact same shoes I was in last summer, which is why I hope that this film can help people in their journey and that it can resonate with them in some way.
Tell us a little more about yourself and where your love and want for filmmaking started.
I’m an 18 year old queer, latinx, writer-director based in Los Angeles, California! I’m currently a senior in high school, and will soon be a freshman at Columbia University in the fall. I always grew up with a love for storytelling. When I was around eight years old, I would make short films with my toys on an old 2010 Windows Pavilion laptop webcam. Storytelling has always been my form of escapism as a girl growing up as a single child. As others were out playing with their siblings or going out to Disneyland, I was at home creating stories out of the air.
My mom was always working to support me, so I spent a lot of time with my grandma, who was always the audience for my imagination. It wasn’t until my freshman year of high school that I realized I wanted to become a filmmaker. I realized that film is a universal language that needs no language at all. It is an art that everyone can dissect in their own way and take something meaningful from it. And that’s when I fell in love with the idea of being a filmmaker.
As someone who has created a few short films, we’re beginning to see your voice. You’ve made films about identity, gender and lemonade, but what is the main reason you tell stories and what do you want your audience to take away from them?
I create to tell my stories, to tell others’ stories, and to tell the stories that have been waiting to be told. Writing stories is my escapism. As I mentioned earlier, writing helps me sort through my emotions. I tend to overthink things a lot– to examine the validity of what I’m feeling, which is why I think I love writing scripts so much. I get to detach myself and create a new person in the same geography. I’m not necessarily writing myself into what I create, but all of the emotions and feelings are there. Creating new worlds for my emotions helps me navigate my thoughts– sometimes they are feelings that I’m repressing (Bloom), other times they are messages I need to hear (Image).
Sometimes I’m just mad at society for fighting one another and so I create a light-hearted story about coming together (When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Grape Juice). I hope that the people who watch my films can in some way find themselves in the characters, that my stories can help them along in their journeys in discovering who they are.
I love the soundtrack for Bloom, the mix of modern and old to compliment the initial storyline. How did you pick which songs to be part of the film, and what is your favourite song right now?
I’m glad you appreciate the soundtrack! Not to be biased here, but I’m very obsessed with it too! The songs I used in the film have all been meaningful to me in some way. Monica Riskey (credits for Gluten Free and Honey Jack Butterflies) was my favorite queer artist when I had just come to terms with my sexuality. I wasn’t out to the world yet, but I was out to myself. All of her songs have such a strong sense of pride in wlw love, and that was exactly what I needed when I couldn’t share my pride with anyone else.
Barbra Streissand’s People is from my favorite musical of all time– Funny Girl– and I wanted Flor to represent me in that way. Clairo’s Sofia represented exactly what I was feeling when I was still questioning. Her album in general, Immunity, means a lot to me– it put words to my feelings that I couldn’t quite put words to myself (special recognition to Bags and Impossible).
The last song, If by Kat Edmonson was a song I had loved since early 2019. When I was writing the script for Bloom, I realized how perfectly the lyrics fit with the storyline and how Flor felt at the end of the story: (If a detour through the park lures you further to the dark / Where against a beating heart you feel a spark go through you / If by then you still remember who you were on your way to / I’ll be waiting for you if you do). The old to modern contrasts in the songs represents how we are in a constant battle with our old and present self. Sometimes we wish we could go back in time to when things were simple, to when feelings didn’t complicate everything.
But to answer your last question, my favorite song at the moment would have to either be Serotonin by Girl in Red or Walk You Home by Sir Chloe <3
Many others and I discovered you and Bloom through a tiktok video which as I’m writing this has received 66k views. It means that people don’t need big budgets or ideas to promote their films, just a hook and a push up the social media algorithm. How does something like this help filmmakers, or possibly hinder them?
Social media is such an amazing tool to boost films and other projects like small businesses.
Social media– especially TikTok– helps get filmmakers the reach from the audience they are looking for. Using the right hashtags and sounds is very important. I for sure would not have gotten this much traction for Bloom without TikTok. It’s amazing what the algorithm can do.
I’ve had people tune in for the premiere from France, Argentina, and Brazil. It’s insanely amazing that people all over the world saw our viral TikTok and were invested enough to watch from their time zone.
I love your Instagram page and how creative you are. What’s your next project?
Thank you so much!! I currently don’t have any big independent film projects to produce, but @m_ariahisabella and I have recently connected and we’re thinking of collaborating on something soon!
However, in the meantime, I also plan to create a short film / music video to one of my favorite songs. It won’t be as big of a production as Bloom for sure, but I will be looking for two actors 🙂
It’s lovely to meet you at the start of what I can see is a beautiful and art-filled career! What dreams do you have for your future?
Oh gosh I have so many! At some point in my life, I want to be working with Netflix or A24 as a writer-director. My lifetime dream would be to create something with Céline Sciamma, who is my biggest filmmaking inspiration. I also hope to travel the world and collaborate with other young filmmakers.
Thanks for chatting with me Gracie!
Thank you for having me! Sending much love <3