Public Broadcasts




Premiered on national PBS on November 11, 2013


by Alicia Dwyer and Tom Xia

Imagine living a month without the ubiquitous “Made In China” label on anything you purchase. Now imagine that month is December. In Xmas Without China, one American family accepts this challenge from Chinese immigrant Tom Xia, who moved to the US as a boy and wanted to explore the material relationship between his new home and his native one. The rules: One family must remove everything made in China from their home while not purchasing anything new with that label for an entire holiday season. There’s comedy and tragedy in this intimate documentary, but more than that questions of family, success, and consumerism that swirl around our idea of personal identity.


Premiered on August 22, 2013 national PBS through POV


by Stephen Maing

High Tech, Low Life follows two of China’s first citizen-reporters as they document the underside of the country’s rapid economic development. A search for truth and fame inspires young vegetable seller “Zola” to report on censored news stories from the cities, while retired businessman “Tiger Temple” makes sense of the past by chronicling the struggles of rural villagers. Land grabs, pollution, rising poverty, local corruption and the growing willingness of ordinary people to speak out are grist for these two bloggers who navigate China’s evolving censorship regulations and challenge the boundaries of free speech. An Official Selection of the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival. A co-production of ITVS and the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM).

valentinos_ghostPremiered nationally on public television beginning June 1, 2013


by Michael Singh

Narrated by Mike Farrell, Valentino’s Ghost examines the ways in which America’s foreign policy agenda in the Middle East drives the U.S. media’s portrayals of Arabs and Muslims. The film lays bare the truths behind taboo subjects that are conspicuously avoided, or merely treated as sound bites, by the mainstream American media: “Why do they hate us?” “Why do we hate them?” What were the events that led to the 9/11 attacks? What are the politics behind the U.S.-Israeli relationship? Why is there a robust debate about these subjects in Europe, the Arab World and in Israel itself, but not in the U.S.?

i-am-filmPremiered nationally on public television beginning June 1, 2013


by Sonali Gulati

I Am chronicles the journey of an Indian lesbian filmmaker who returns to Delhi, eleven years later, to re-open what was once home, and finally confronts the loss of her mother whom she never came out to. As she meets and speaks to parents of other gay and lesbian Indians, she pieces together the fabric of what family truly means, in a landscape where being gay was until recently a criminal and punishable offense.


Premiered on May 28, 2013 national PBS through Frontline


by Habiba Nosheen & Hilke Schellmann

In Pakistan, women and girls who allege rape are often more strongly condemned than their alleged rapists. Some are even killed by their own families. For this unforgettable documentary, Outlawed in Pakistan, filmmakers Habiba Nosheen and Hilke Schellmann spent years tracing one alleged rape victim’s odyssey through Pakistan’s flawed justice system — as well as her alleged rapists’ quest to clear their names.


Premiered on national PBS on May 10, 2013


by Tadashi Nakamura

Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings is a compelling portrait of an inspiring and inventive musician whose virtuoso skills on the ukulele have transformed all previous notions of the instrument’s potential. Through intimate conversations with Shimabukuro (she-ma-BOO-koo-row), Life on Four Strings reveals the cultural and personal influences that have shaped the man and the musician. On the road from Los Angeles to New York to Japan, the film captures the solitary life on tour: the exhilaration of performance, the wonder of newfound fame, the loneliness of separation from home and family. Life on Four Strings is a production of the Center for Asian American Media and Pacific Islanders in Communications in association with Paliku Documentary Films with support by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.


Premiered on national PBS on May 6, 2013


by Debbie Lum

Seeking Asian Female is an eccentric modern love story about Steven and Sandy—an aging white man with “yellow fever” who is obsessed with marrying any Asian woman, and the young Chinese bride he finds online. Debbie, a Chinese American filmmaker, documents and narrates with skepticism and humor, from the early stages of Steven’s search, through the moment Sandy steps foot in America for the first time, to a year into their precarious union. Global migration, Sino-American relations and the perennial battle of the sexes, weigh in on the fate of their marriage in this intensely captivating personal documentary.


Premiered on national PBS on May 1, 2013

ANNA MAY WONG: In Her Own Words

by Yunah Hong

Anna May Wong (1905 – 1961) was the first Chinese-American movie star. She started out in silent films when she was 17 and went on to make dozens of films in Hollywood, London and Berlin, co-starring with Marlene Dietrich, Anthony Quinn and Douglas Fairbanks. She was glamorous, talented and cosmopolitan. Yet she spent most of her career typecast either as a painted doll or a scheming dragon lady.


Premiered nationally on public television beginning April 27, 2013


by Christopher Woon

A counterstory to fictional Hmong American narratives like Clint Eastwoodrsquo’s Gran Torino, filmmaker/beatmaker/dancer Christopher (Paper Son) Woon’s first documentary feature explores the intersection of rugged urban b-boyin’; (breakdancing) and the traditional roots of Hmong culture. But instead of the usual generational conflict, Among B-Boys unveils a story of the modern and the traditional actually affirming each other, visually weaving between the older generation’s memory of ethnicity and war and the younger generation’s toprocks, footwork, freezes and power-moves. Woon focuses on three breakers – Mpact and Villn of Underground Flow, and Sukie of Velocity/Soul Rivals Crewmdash; who reveal the path towards b-boy cultural citizenship in America, but continually steer us back to their families, history and community.


 Premiered on national PBS on January 3, 2013


by S. Leo Chiang

What happens when the naiveté of a political rookie clashes with the realities of racial and partisan politics of the South? Mr. Cao Goes to Washington is a fascinating character study of Congressman Joseph Cao, a Vietnamese American Republican elected by surprise in an African American Democratic district in New Orleans. Will Cao make it through his term with his idealism intact? A Center for Asian American Media Production in association with Walking Iris Media.


Premiered on October 4, 2012 national PBS through POV


by Michael Collins and Marty Syjuco

As a tropical storm beats down on an island in the Philippines, two sisters leave work and never make it home. Paco Larrañaga, a 19-year-old student, is sentenced to death for their rape and murder, despite overwhelming evidence of his innocence. Give Up Tomorrow exposes shocking corruption within the judicial system of the Philippines and one of the most sensational trials in the country’s history. Two grieving mothers, entangled in a case that ends a nation’s use of capital punishment but fails to free an innocent man, dedicate more than a decade to executing or saving him. A co-production of the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) and the Independent Television Service (ITVS).

talesofthewariaPremiered on June 3rd, 2013 national PBS through Global Voices


by Kathy Huang

At a time when transgender communities around the world are largely ignored or misrepresented in the media, the 60-minute documentary video Tales of the Waria intimately explores how one such community confronts issues of love, family, and faith.


Premiered on KQED on May 13, 2012


by Jim Choi & Chihiro Wimbush

Don’t Lose Your Soul is a portrait of bassist Mark Izu and drummer Anthony Brown, two founders of the Asian American Jazz Movement. The film traces their personal histories and the origin of their partnership; forged in the crucible of the ethnic identity movements of the 70s, through the political force of their band United Front, and their seminal tribute to the Japanese internment experience, Big Bands Behind Barbed Wire. Their musical journey culminates at Sanju, honoring the 30th Anniversary of the Asian American Jazz Festival and bringing back one of their musical heroes, George Yoshida, for one electric night of performance at Yoshi’s.

madeinindiaPremiered nationally on PBS on May 1, 2012 


by Rebecca Haimowitz & Vaishali Sinha

Made in India is a film about the human experiences behind the phenomenon of “outsourcing” surrogacy to India. It follows the journey of an infertile American couple, an Indian surrogate and the business of reproductive tourism that brings them together. Weaving together these personal stories within the context of a growing international industry, the film explores a complicated clash of families in crisis, assisted reproductive technologies and personal choice from a global perspective.

summerpasturePremiered on May 1, 2012 national PBS through Independent Lens 


by Lynn True and Nelson Walker

In recent years, growing pressures from the outside world have posed unprecedented challenges for Tibetan nomads. Rigid government policies, rangeland degradation, and the allure of modern life have prompted many nomadic families to leave the pastures for permanent settlement in towns and cities. According to nomads, the world has entered duegnan — dark times. Summer Pasture is a feature-length documentary that chronicles one summer with a young family amidst this period of great uncertainty.

somagirlsPremiered nationally on public television beginning February 25, 2012


by Nandini Sikand and Alexia Prichard

Soma Girls explores the lives of girls growing up in a hostel in Kolkata, India. From ages 6 to 17, the film follows these intelligent, funny and high-energy girls as they overcome extraordinary circumstances to lead ordinary lives.

open-seasonPremiered nationally on public television beginning October 29, 2011 


by Mark Tang and Lu Lippold

Open Season – It was a deed that horrified the nation and put an entire culture on the defensive. In a northern Wisconsin forest during Thanksgiving week of 2004, the Hmong American deer hunter Chai Vang was confronted by several white hunters in all-terrain vehicles. Exactly what happened next has never been established, but the aftermath was only too clear: Eight people had been shot, six of them to death. Vang, the shooter, claimed that he had feared for his life, was called racist names and not allowed to leave, and had been shot at before he fired in self-defense.

lasttrainhomePremiered on September 27, 2011 national PBS through Independent Lens POV


by Lixin Fan

Every spring, China’s cities are plunged into chaos as 130 million migrant workers journey to their home villages for the New Year in the world’s largest human migration. Last Train Home takes viewers on a heart-stopping journey with the Zhangs, a couple who left infant children behind for factory jobs 16 years ago, hoping their wages would lift their children to a better life.

ninoyaquinoPremiered nationally on public television beginning September 30, 2011


by Tom Koffman

Ninoy Aquino & the Rise of People Power tells the story of Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. from his beginnings as the “boy wonder” of Philippines politics through his opposition to the martial law dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos until his death by assassination on the tarmac of what today is known as the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Premiered nationally on public television beginning May 1, 2011


by Tadashi Nakamura

With a hip music track and never-before-seen archival footage, Pilgramage & A Song For Ourselves (Two Films by Tadashi Nakamura) tells how an abandoned WWII concentration camp (Manzanar) for Japanese Americans was transformed into a symbol of retrospection and solidarity for people of all ages, races and nationalities in our post 9/11 world. During the 1970s when Asians in American were invisible to the country –and more importantly even to themselves – the late Chris Iijima’s music provided a voice and identity and entire generation had been in search of. Through animated photographs, intimate home movies, archival footage and Chris’ own songs, A SONG FOR OURSEVLES shows how Chris’ music unleashed the contagious energy of the Asian American Movement with an unrelenting passion for social justice and a live well lived.

Premiered on national PBS on May 1, 2011


by Jeff Adachi

You Don’t Know Jack Soo by Jeff Adachi tells the fascinating story of a pioneering American entertainer Jack Soo, an Oakland native who became the first Asian American to be in the lead role in a regular television series, Valentine’s Day, and later starred in the popular comedy show Barney Miller. Featuring rare footage and interviews with Soo’s co-star and friends, including actors George Takei, Nancy Kwan, comedian Steve Landesberg, and producer Hal Kanter, the film traces Jack’s early beginnings as a nightclub singer and comedian, to his breakthrough role as Sammy Fong in Rogers and Hammerstein’s Broadway play and film version of FLOWER DRUM SONG.

Premiered on national PBS on May 8, 2011


by David Petersen and Monica Lam

Journey of the Bonesetter’s Daughter follows the creation of the San Francisco Opera’s celebrated production of “THE BONESETTER’S DAUGHTER, composed by Stewart Wallace with a libretto by Amy Tan and based on her bestselling book of the same name. An ambitious, cross-cultured tour de force that brings together artists from China and the U.S, the opera tells a deeply moving story about the difficult but unbreakable bond between mothers and daughters inspired by Tan’s own family history. Directed by David Petersen and produced by Monica Lam.

Premiered nationally on public television beginning December 22, 2010


by Joyce Lee

A bright and happy child, five-year-old Mai is newly arrived from China and placed in a kindergarten classroom in a small, Midwestern town. Paper Words, an animated film, follows Mai as she engages her imagination to keep her company in a strange new world. It is paired with the short POINT OF ENTRY.

someoneelseswarPremiered nationally on public television beginning September 1, 2010


by Lee Wang

In the background of the war in Iraq is an invisible army made up of more than 30,000 low-wage workers from South and Southeast Asia. Working for a fraction of what American contractors earn in Iraq, these Asian workers do the dirty work on U.S. military bases—cleaning toilets, serving food and driving some of the most dangerous roads in the country. Yet few Americans outside of Iraq have ever seen or heard of these workers. – Someone Else’s War

woainimommyPremiered on national PBS on August 31, 2010


by Stephanie Wang-Breal

From 2000-2008, China was the leading country for U.S. international adoptions. There are now approximately 70,000 Chinese children being raised in the United States. Wo Ai Ni Mommy explores what happens when an older Chinese girl is adopted into an American family. This film reveals the complicated gains and losses that are an inherent aspect of international, transracial adoption.

firstpersonpluralPremiered August 10, 2010 national PBS through POV August

First Person Plural

by Deann Borshay Liem

In 1966, Deann Borshay Liem was adopted by an American family and sent from Korea to her new home in California. There the memory of her birth family was nearly obliterated, until recurring dreams led her to investigate her own past, and she discovered that her Korean mother was very much alive. Bravely uniting her biological and adoptive families, Borshay Liem embarks on a heartfelt journey in this acclaimed film that first premiered on POV in 2000. First Person Plural is a poignant essay on family, loss and the reconciling of two identities. POV will present the filmmaker’s follow-up, In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee, on Tuesday, September 14, 2010.

Premiered September 14, 2010 national PBS through POV


by Deann Borshay Liem

In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee is the search to find the answers, as acclaimed filmmaker Deann Borshay Liem (First Person Plural, POV 2000) returns to her native Korea to find her “double,” the mysterious girl whose place she took in America. A co-production of ITVS in association with the Center for Asian American Media and American Documentary/POV.

cityofbordersPremiered May 30, 2010 national PBS through Global Voices


by Yun Suh

Yun Suh’s documentary City of Borders goes to the heart of Jerusalem where an unusual symbol of unity — a gay bar — defies generations of segregation, violence and prejudice. This powerful documentary gives an intimate view of an underground community where people of opposing nationalities, religions and sexual orientations create an island of peace in a land divided by war.

vcvdocPremiered May 25, 2010 national PBS through Independent Lens


by S. Leo Chiang

In a New Orleans neighborhood called Versailles, a tight-knit group of Vietnamese Americans overcame obstacles to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina, only to have their homes threatened by a new government-imposed toxic landfill. A Village Called Versailles is the empowering story of how the Versailles people, who have already suffered so much in their lifetime, turn a devastating disaster into a catalyst for change and a chance for a better future.

kashmirPremiered May 18, 2010 national PBS through Independent Lens


by Senain Kheshgi and Geeta V. Patel

Most Indians and Pakistanis can’t agree where Kashmir is on a map. But ask them who started the conflict, and they will have an answer. Two filmmakers, one Hindu and the other Muslim, sneak their cameras into one of the most beautiful, yet dangerous, places on Earth. In a region where religious alliances have spawned more than half a century of war, can these two filmmakers learn what makes Kashmiris choose their homeland over their own lives, even as their friendship is put to the test? – Project Kashmir

amomentintimePremiered on national PBS on May 1, 2010


by Ruby Yang and Lambert Yam

A Moment In Time is a one-hour documentary about the experience of the Chinese in America through the films they loved — from Cantonese opera to Westerns. Movies crystallized the feelings of immigrants and their children. Cultural tensions and poverty have always combined to make immigrant stories dramatic.

whateverittakesPremiered March 10, 2010 national PBS through Independent Lens


by Christopher Wong

Whatever It Takes chronicles the struggles and triumphs of the very first year of the Bronx Center for Science & Mathematics, an innovative public high school set in NYC’s South Bronx. This deeply emotional, character-driven documentary focuses on Edward Tom, the school’s dynamic rookie principal, and Sharifea Baskerville, a talented but troubled ninth-grade girl.