As her first directorial debut, Iris K. Shim explores a story about motherhood, trauma, and ghosts from your past coming back to haunt you… literally. Umma (mother in Korean) stars Sandra Oh and Fivel Stewart in a supernatural horror. Oh plays Amanda, the single other to Stewart’s Chris. After a traumatic childhood, Amanda no longer can be near electricity. She raises Chris on a remote farm where they farm honey and live without any hint of modern technology. Things change when Amanda’s uncle comes to town with the ashes of her recently-passed mother. After years of hiding from her past, her mother’s death sparks the memories and trauma of the past and as Amanda spends more and more time with the ashes, she is forced to face her umma once and for all.
We spoke with Iris K. Shim about her project and asked her about the making of the film and working with producer Sam Raimi. Shim talked about how the experience allowed her to embrace and understand Korean myth and folklore. Through her research she was introduced to aspects of her own culture that she had never come into contact with like the gumiho (nine-tailed fox spirit). Exploring that mythos also lead to the inclusion of such aspects of the culture into the film. She discussed how Sam Raimi got involved in the project and how it is important to not only have diverse directors and actors but also producers. And she also talked about how she pulled from her own experiences as a child of immigrants for this story about the relationship between generations of people.
Watch our interview with Shim below!
Umma is now available in theaters!