Latest lesbian flick Bloomington takes student/teacher relations
to new heights with the tale of Jacqueline, former child star of a
cult TV sci-fi show, who ditches her acting career and Californian
roots to experience university life in Bloomington, Indiana. There
she crosses paths with mysterious psychology teacher Catherine
Stark who has the reputation of being a sexual predator. The two
outsiders embark on a passionate relationship, fuelled with an
exciting secrecy but also shadowed by the anxiety about where it
will leave them.
Bloomington sets a tone for a modern lesbian cinema: it
normalizes Catherine and Jackie's relationship. Although that
intense chemistry ceases to lead us to much in the way of, shall we
say, "juicy bits", we are hooked by the dynamic between them.
Watching as their feelings for each other blossom you realise,
along with the characters, that sex isn't all there is. Ultimately,
director Fernanda Cardoso creates a refreshing portrait of a
DIVA had the privilege of talking to leading cast members
Allison McAtee (Catherine) and Sarah Stouffer (Jacqueline) about
their experience of being involved in this new lesbian hit.
DIVA: Was this your first gay role?
Allison: I always say it was my first gay role but now I think
about it I have played lesbian characters on stage before. I had to
kiss a girl in a play and I remember that kind of rocked me.
Did you feel a pressure to represent the LGBT
A: I walked into it as if it were any other role. And I have
been surprised at the overwhelming response that I have personally
gotten from the community. There was a woman who wrote to me who
had had the same experience with a teacher. She said that the film
gave her an opportunity for closure on that. As an actor, that's
the most awesome. Not that just people like it, but they that they
are affected by it.
Sarah: That's one of the great things about a community,
there're really supportive.
Sarah, Jacqueline's gay, you're not. To what extent
could you relate to her?
S: I do feel like I have a lot in common with the character; she
is smart and sassy and spunky, a real go-getter. Once she decides
what she wants she goes for it. I've been in situations before
where I was the outsider and people were maybe not as welcoming as
they perhaps could've been and you draw from experiences like
What was the meaning of Catherine and Jacqueline's
A: People are either with you for a reason, a season or a
lifetime. They were with each other for a reason; to help each
Was the lack of explicit sex scenes
A: When I first read the script, there was quite a bit more sex
written in. It made it less of a love story. We changed some of the
scenes just to layer it, to change dynamics and show a deep caring,
a connection, as opposed to just a lustful fling.
How comfortable were you with shooting the
A: I'm straight and you know, some people experiment in their
youth but I hadn't ever really, so it was an interesting
experience. It was a challenge as an actor but me and Sarah were so
comfortable around each other, and she's pretty hot so it wasn't
S: Allison was always very supportive and we got super close
during the filming process. Nothing was uncomfortable; everything
was really natural. And whenever Fernanda was ready to wrap a scene
she would say, "Are you guys happy with it?" so we had a lot of
Would you say there's anything that you learnt about
lesbian relationships during the filming?
A: A human relationship is a human relationship.
S: It's much more about the characters than the sexuality.
Bloomington is out now on DVD
To buy it for £12.99 from DIVADirect, click here.
Watch the trailer below!