The new horror movie Umma, in theaters now, focuses on generational trauma and mothers and daughters, told through the lens of a Korean-American family.
It’s written and directed by Iris K. Shim, who tells ABC Audio she’s thrilled that the movie seems to be part of a trend of movies and TV shows written and directed by women of Asian descent, including Pixar’s Turning Red and Apple TV+’s Pachinko.
“That is pretty wild, I think this month in particular, there’s just so much content being released that either feature Asian-American characters or were created by Asian-Americans. And I mean, it’s really exciting. It’s a moment that I’ve waiting for all my life,” she says.
Adds Shim, “When I was younger, being able to see myself on screen was impossible. And even when I did see Asian faces, they were mostly Asian movies from Asia…so I think like having this opportunity to really shine a light on this specific experience is incredible,” says Shim, who admits being “a little bit worried about featuring Korean-American characters” at the start.
Umma — Korean for “mother” — stars Sandra Oh as a mother haunted by the prospect of turning into her own estranged mother after her remains arrive from Korea. Fivel Stewart, who plays Oh’s daughter, notes that after years of being on the margins, it seems like the opportunities for Asian women in Hollywood are growing.
“I did a show called Atypical, and the showrunner was of Asian descent, and then one of the main producers which was half Asian as well,” she explains. “So I do think that we are here and we are here to stay…I think that this is just the stepping stone to what could be.”