The Singapore Film Commission has selected He Shuming’s Singapore-Korea co-production Ajoomma, produced by the city-state’s influential auteur Anthony Chen, as its submission to the best international feature category at the 2023 Oscars.
He’s feature directorial debut, the film traces a middle-aged widow’s obsession with Korean pop culture and her journey of self-discovery when she makes a trip to South Korea.
Ajoomma is set to make its world premiere in the Busan International Film Festival’s New Currents competition, which runs Oct. 5-14.
Produced by Chen’s Giraffe Pictures and co-produced by Korea’s Lee Joonhan, the film was supported by Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA)’s New Director grant. Beijing-based Rediance is handling international sales. Two of Chen’s previous works as a director, Ilo Ilo (2013) and Wet Season (2019), were submitted by Singapore to past editions of the Oscars.
Although still unreleased, Ajoomma has already racked up a few honors. It received four nominations for the upcoming Golden Horse Awards in Taiwan, including best new director, best original screenplay, best leading actress for veteran Singaporean actress Hong Huifang, and best supporting actor for Korean performer Jung Dong-hwan.
The film will be released in cinemas in Singapore on Oct. 27 via Golden Village Pictures.
Chen said in a statement: “Giraffe Pictures is honored to fly the flag again as Singapore’s Oscar contender with He Shuming’s charming debut Ajoomma. We are just at the start of the film’s journey and look forward to bring laughs and tears to audiences far and beyond our shores. This is definitely the Singapore film of the year to watch!”