Cheers to Bloom, a student-directed film, produced in a UTV and capstone 470C, financed by UTV studios. Since winning multiple awards at the NAU film festival in the Spring 2022 semester, the film has gone on to many wins and selections.
Nick Hiratsuka – Director
Mackenzie Baradic – Producer
Emma Stewart – Writer, current President of UTV studios, and head of writer’s room
We connected with Nick and Mackenzie and asked two questions:
What inspired you to create this film?
Nick answered, “I directed “bloom” because from the moment I first read the script, I fell in love with the characters and the world. As someone who has struggled to find love, I found something intriguing, yet terrifying in the premise of a society where a computer could tell you if you were right for someone. I mean if dating apps aren’t stressful enough!
Additionally, I was intrigued with what this film could mean for UTV Studios in terms of it being a Romance/Sci-Fi. Can we create a world set in a futuristic society with holograms and behavior-analyzing AI on a small budget and make it look believable? While this was a challenge, I knew that if we nailed it, we could open the door for future UTV films by showing that truly anything is possible with a little creativity and dedication.
But love also plays a key role in this film. I didn’t want it to just be a sappy love story or one where you didn’t buy the connection as genuine. We had the near-impossible task of telling a story about complete strangers who would have never talked to each other out in the “real world”, forming an intimate connection- all in a 17-minute runtime. Our writer worked on 16 different versions of the script until we were confident the relationship felt earned. I also knew we needed to latch onto a more compelling theme than just “love”. It was while working on the screenplay with our writer Emma and producer Mackenzie, we discovered the prevailing theme of trust within the story. Beyond falling in love with each other, these two characters needed to learn to trust each other. To me, this was how we sold the connection between the characters.”
Mackenzie stated, “I was inspired to join the crew when Nick talked to me about the film’s take on nature vs. technology. I feel that love is not something that technology can quantify (though modern dating apps may beg to differ). Love is laden with perseverance. This message is one of my favorite things about the script.”
The second question we asked, Do you have advice for other filmmakers?
Nick said, “The two biggest pieces of advice I’d offer to any filmmaker would be to dive head first into your pre-production and be prepared to problem-solve. Film is the most artistic form of problem-solving. Everyone likes to fantasize about the perfect shot, the perfect performance, or the perfect shooting day but that’s a small part of the job. 99% of the work is thinking on your feet and adjusting to unexpected challenges in real-time. There were many moments where “bloom” might not have happened. ”
Mackenzie stated, “My advice for other filmmakers would be to not lose your passion. It’s so easy to become discouraged when working in a cut-throat environment where every day comes with unforeseen challenges…but don’t forget to think about all the reasons you started. It will keep you going.”