Director of Photography
Kevin Jin Kwan Kim
Bianca Rose Cheung
A Korean Granddaughter faces guilt and shame as she reunites with her Halmeoni (Grandma) after immigrating away at a young age, having forgotten her mother tongue.
In a quiet, nostalgic home of Halmeoni (Grandma in Korean), she is teaching her young Granddaughter how to write Korean letters. In vignettes, they laugh, play and embrace one another in this core memory.
In an intercutted timeline, the Granddaughter has grown up and is attempting to write in Korean once more, but with much frustration. As these two contrasting scenes rival back and forth, it comes to a closure when the older Granddaughter enters the nostalgic home once more to reveal her Halmeoni sickly in bed.
In a bittersweet moment, the Granddaughter attempts to communicate with Halmeoni in Korean, overwhelmed with her shame and guilt. However, Halmeoni surprises her by speaking back in English, showing her endless care and love for her Granddaughter. The film comes to a closer revealing that the Granddaughter immigrated away with her Mother soon after having learned the Korean letters from Halmeoni.
Halmeoni portrays two significant themes to me. One, it conveys an experience that many immigrants go through – the complete loss or impairment of their mother tongue. For those who immigrate at a young age, we become hyper focused on adapting to our new cultures and communities, to the point where we often forget our own. It is often not until we mature into our teen/adulthood where we recognize our losses and are faced with guilt, sometimes even shamed by the family around us. It’s an ever-so-common phenomenon that deserves to be brought up into our conversations more often, especially in a month where we celebrate Asian heritage and cultures. The second theme portrays the never-ending limits of the love of our grandparents (halmeoni’s and harabeoji’s). It’s not uncommon especially in Eastern Asian households for the grandparents to raise the children as the parents become overwhelmed with their work. I wanted to show that even at our lowest, our Halmeoni’s will be there to comfort us, going as far as to learn a new language.
Kevin Jin Kwan Kim is a Korean-Canadian director and editor based in “Vancouver, BC,” the unceded territory of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh nations.
With a background in editing, his work sustains a distinct sense of rhythm while capturing emotions by finding the most powerful connections between shots. He values the length of every take and is keen on utilizing time to its best degree. He also cherishes collaboration in his work and aspires to raise the voices of those in the BIPOC community. His recent 1-min film Daniel “Jun Ho” Lee received viral attention as it gained over 5 million collective views on various social media platforms and have been featured on CTV, Shots, AsianFeed and more.