TBA Studios is bringing to Philippine theaters the lighthearted family drama “Ajoomma,” which will be released on March 15.

The film stars veteran Singaporean actress Hong Huifang as the titular “ajoomma” (Korean for middle-aged “auntie”). Well-known South Korean actors Kang Hyung-suk (“Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha”) and Jung Dong-hwan (“Uncontrollably Fond,” “Hotel del Luna”) join her in the cast. Yeo Jin-goo of “Moon Embracing the Sun” and “Hotel del Luna” fame also appears in a special guest role.

“Ajoomma” is directed by Singaporean filmmaker He Shuming. It tells the story of a middle-aged, Korean-drama-obsessed widow from Singapore. She travels out of the country for the first time to Seoul, and ends up getting lost. Her journey becomes an unexpected road of self-discovery as she comes to terms with the life she truly wants for herself, beyond her roles of daughter, wife, and mother.

"Ajoomma": Hong Huifang and Jung Dong-hwan
Hong Huifang and Jung Dong-hwan in “Ajoomma.” TBA Studios / Rediance

Shuming shared that his feature debut film’s story is inspired by his own mother’s fascination with Korean dramas. “While the premise seems to be timely given the popularity of Korean pop culture sweeping through all of Asia and beyond, it merely serves as an undertone for the film, which is about a middle-aged Singaporean woman learning to navigate life beyond her duties as a mother, a housewife, and a caretaker,” the director added.

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“Ajoomma” had its world premiere at the 27th Busan International Film Festival last October 2022. Since then, the film has racked up numerous awards and recognitions, including four nominations at the 59th Golden Horse Awards. It was also selected as Singapore’s entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 95th Academy Awards. 

"Ajoomma": Hong Huifang and Yeo Jin-goo
Yeo Jin-goo and “Ajoomma” star Hong Huifang. TBA Studios / Rediance

The movie is produced by Cannes award-winning director Anthony Chen (“ILO ILO”). It has the distinction of being the first film to be co-produced between Singapore and South Korea. “Ajoomma,” according to Chen, the film “reflects the unique way that Korean pop culture resonates with audiences across Asia and the world.”

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For her part, TBA Studios President and COO Daphne Chiu shares the same sentiment. “Filipinos are very passionate about Korean culture and media. We feel that audiences here especially women of all ages would be able to relate to this film. It’s a heartwarming story perfect for families.”

“Ajoomma” opens in Philippine cinemas on March 15.

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