Singapore-South Korean film ‘Ajoomma’ is trying out for the Oscars’ Best International Feature Film

The Singapore-South Korean film Ajoomma, directed by Singaporean filmmaker He Shuming is going places. 

Just recently, the film received four nominations at the upcoming Golden Horse Awards, is currently premiering at Busan and was also selected as Singapore’s entry to the 2023 Academy Awards for Best International Feature Film. 

Director He Shuming told Coconuts, “Premiering in Busan feels great because we get to show the film to our Korean actors and crew here, and the audience at the festival are always fantastic. It’s also the first festival in Asia at least, where everyone is back physically since Covid. I’m currently here at the atmosphere is just so welcoming.”

“The Golden Horse nominations – I mean, I grew up watching the awards when it used to air on Channel 8 so it’s a big deal! I feel very humbled. But having these nods in Asia, and to be selected by Singapore, I think there is a resonance to the story that is very universal. I hope this will prove to be right when we open in Singapore on 27th October.”

Ajoomma is the story of Auntie, a middle-aged Singaporean woman who is left widowed after years of dedicating her life to caring for her family. As her grown-up son (played by Shane Pow) prepares to move out, she has to come to terms with a whole new identity that transcends being a wife, mother and daughter. The film follows her solo trip to Korea which ends up being an adventure. 

Auntie is played by local actress Hong Huifang and also received the prestigious Golden Horse nomination for Best Leading Actress. 

“This is quintessentially a Singaporean film, even though it is set in a Korean setting, because the Auntie in this film is a woman we recognise: she is like our mother, an aunt, or a friend of ours. I think we can also recognise the relationship some of us have with our families, especially in this part of the world. I also hope the Singaporean audience will feel the sincerity and love we’ve put into the film,” He says of Auntie. 

K-drama fans will be able to see Kang Hyung-suk who had roles in popular shows like Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha, Crash Landing on You and Itaewon Class. Other notable names include Yeo Jin-goo and Jung Dong-hwan who both appeared in Hotel del Luna.

But before the awards season begins, you should also catch Ajoomma in a cinema close to home. The film opens in Singapore on Oct. 27 in cinemas, with sneak previews from Oct. 21 to 24.

Other stories to check out:
Emotional film on Singaporean sex workers earns nod from Malaysia’s Freedom Fest
Get ‘High’ on this sexy, Black Mirror-style interactive film by Singaporean director Royston Tan

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