20 Things to Watch and Listen To In Celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islanders

Women at the temple, from "Daze of Justice," directed by Michael Siv.

It’s not too late to catch these films, now streaming on WORLD Channel and PBS! And catch the new podcast everyone is talking about, Self Evident: Asian America’s Stories, on any platform where you find podcasts. All of the projects are funded by CAAM or Pacific Islanders in Communications, one of our partner organization in the National Multicultural Alliance.

Click on the photos to stream/listen. Have a reaction to the podcast and films? Share on social media, tag CAAM, and use the #MyAPALife!

NORMAN MINETA AND HIS LEGACY: AN AMERICAN STORY

Directed by Dianne Fukami | Streaming until 6/17/2019

Meet the statesman who served as cabinet secretary for Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush. Imprisoned by the U.S. during World War II for his Japanese ancestry, Mineta rose to become the first Asian American to serve in a presidential cabinet.

NAILED IT

Directed by Adele Pham | Streaming until 7/6/2019

In virtually every city, state and strip mall across the U.S., women get their nails done in salons likely owned by Vietnamese entrepreneurs. How did this community come to dominate an $8 billion dollar nail economy? NAILED IT takes viewers from Los Angeles to the Bronx to meet the people behind this booming and sometimes controversial industry.

SELF EVIDENT: ASIAN AMERICA’S STORIES

An image of a brown person with chin length hair looking fiercely off into the distance. The words say "Self Evident: Asian America's Stories"

Self Evident is a podcast hosted by Cathy Erway that challenges the narratives about where we’re from, where we belong, and where we’re going — by telling Asian America’s stories. The first episode, “Whose Dream Is This, Anyway?” is out now and includes two stories, set 100 years apart, that explore this question from the perspective of immigrants who think they’ve made it in America, only to find out that their dream comes at a cost. You can listen and subscribe through your favorite podcast app, or at selfevidentshow.com.

WE GON’ BE ALRIGHT

Directed by Bao Nguyen

Inspired by Jeff Chang’s* critically acclaimed collection of essays, We Gon’ Be Alright explores a nation of historically unprecedented diversity that also seems to be becoming more separate and unequal. From Silicon Valley gentrification and resegregation to new Hollywood attempts to overcome typecasting by diversifying, from college admission debates to the flawed U.S. census’ way of categorizing race, the series asks the questions: how did we become so divided, and what can we do now to be alright?

LEITIS IN WAITING

Directed by Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson | Streaming until 4/28/2020

The story of Tonga’s evolving approach to gender fluidity through a character-driven portrait of the most prominent leiti (transgender) in the Kingdom, Joey Mataele, a devout Catholic of royal descent. LEITIS IN WAITING reveals what it means to be different in a deeply religious and conservative society, and what it takes to be accepted without giving up who you are.

OUT OF STATE

Directed by Ciara Lacy | Streaming until 6/5/2019

Two native Hawaiians sent thousands of miles away to a private prison in the desert find a community of other native Hawaiians and discover indigenous traditions from a fellow inmate serving a life sentence. After finishing their terms and returning to Hawai’i, the men both find life on the outside a struggle and wonder if it’s possible to ever go home again.

FINDING SAMUEL LOWE

Directed by Jeanette Kong | Streaming until 6/4/2019

Paula Madison knew her mother was half Chinese, half Jamaican. Growing up in Harlem, she wondered about her Chinese grandfather, Samuel Lowe. When did he immigrate to the islands? Where did he go when he left? In FINDING SAMUEL LOWE, Madison embarks on a trip of a lifetime, tracing her grandfather back to his ancestral village – and finds she has a whole new family to embrace.

TE KUHANE O TE TUPUNA

By Leonardo Pakarati and Paula Rossetti | Streaming Until 4/28/2020

This documentary film is a journey from Easter Island to London, in search of the lost Moai Hoa Haka Nanaia, a statue of significant cultural importance. It explores the social and political landscape of the island of Rapanui as the people attempt to claim back what is rightfully theirs: their land and a lava-rock image of tremendous presence, representing one of the world’s most extraordinary cosmological views.

CORRIDOR FOUR

By Stephen Tringali and Maria Bissell | Streaming until 4/28/2020

A nationally recognized K9 Unit Officer, Isaac Ho‘opi‘i is responsible for saving numerous people from the Pentagon during the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Countless articles were written about his heroism following 9/11. He was photographed by Richard Avedon for a spread in USA Today.  He appeared on NBC’s Today Show. And he ran the Olympic Torch on its way to Salt Lake City for the 2002 Winter Olympics. Corridor Four is a documentary that illustrates Isaac’s story in the aftermath of 9/11.  After all the news cameras had turned off and all the lights had dimmed, Isaac was left only with the horrific images he had seen and the memory of those he was unable to save.  His is a story not of a hero basking in the glory of his past deeds, but of a human being filled with regret that he couldn’t change something completely out of his control.

FAMILY INGREDIENTS

Episodes Streaming Until 6/30/2019

Get an introduction to interesting people and riveting stories linked by a family recipe, starting from a base in Hawaii to locations such as Japan and Puerto Rico. Find the rich and sometimes surprising connections to a treasured family dish.

LUCKY CHOW

Episodes streaming until 5/1/2021

The seven-part series LUCKY CHOW returns for a second season with host Danielle Chang, who explores Asian cuisine’s impact on American food culture, while discovering how deeply Asian culture is rooted in our everyday lives.

DAZE OF JUSTICE

Directed by Michael Siv | Streaming until 6/18/2019

Witness the intimate story of trailblazing Cambodian American women who break decades of silence to resurrect the memory of their loved ones before the UN Special Tribunal prosecuting the Khmer Rouge. The women must not only find the courage to revisit sites of unspeakable trauma, they also face an unexpected and agonizing predicament when they come face to face with the son of one of Pol Pot’s most notorious torturers. In a courageous act, these women finally find it within themselves to reckon with their past so that they can extend the promise of redemption to future generations.

TYRUS

Photo by Irene Poon Andersen

Directed by Pamela Tom | Streaming until 5/30/2019

Until his death at the age of 106, Tyrus Wong was America’s oldest living Chinese American artist and one of the last remaining artists from the golden age of Disney animation. The quiet beauty of his Eastern-influenced paintings had a pioneering impact on American art and popular culture.

GIMME A FAITH

Directed by Hao Zhang

Thousands of Chinese students arrive in the United States each year, often confronting loneliness and culture-clash upon arrival. Arriving in North Carolina to study filmmaking, Hao Zhang is surprised to find a unique community of Chinese students, connected by a newly discovered evangelical Christianity that is often at stark odds with their communist roots in China.

LET’S PLAY MUSIC! SLACK KEY WITH CYRIL PAHINUI AND FRIENDS 

Directed by Na’alehu Anthony | Streaming until 4/28/2020

Master slack key musician Cyril Pahinui, jams with some of the most revered and talented musicians in Hawai‘i in intimate kanikapila style backyard performances.  Cyril was the son of Gabby “Pop” Pahinui, who is considered the “Godfather” of Hawaiian slack key guitar and whose music was featured prominently in the Academy Award winning film, The Descendants.  Cyril Pahinui passed away on November 17, 2018; this encore broadcast is dedicated to him.

PRISON SONGS

By Kelrick Martin and Harry Bardwell | Streaming until 4/28/2020

The people imprisoned in a Darwin jail are shown in a unique and completely new light in Australia’s first ever documentary musical. Incarcerated in tropical Northern Territory, over 800 inmates squeeze into the overcrowded spaces of Berrimah Prison. In an Australian first, the inmates share their feelings, faults and experiences in the most extraordinary way – through song.

RESISTANCE AT TULE LAKE

Directed by Konrad Aderer | Streaming Until 5/31/2019

The dominant narrative of the World War II incarceration of Japanese-Americans has been that they behaved as a “model minority” – cooperating without protest and proving their patriotism by enlisting in the Army. RESISTANCE AT TULE LAKE overturns that myth by telling the long-suppressed story of Tule Lake Segregation Center.

WHO IS ARTHUR CHU?

Directed by Yu Gu | Streaming until 6/20/2019

WHO IS ARTHUR CHU? follows the 11-time Jeopardy! winner. By using an unconventional game strategy, the former insurance analyst amassed both fans and haters on Twitter. To put his 15 minutes of fame to good use, Arthur aspires to become a public figure to address racism and sexism with his posture debunking the “model” Asian American stereotype.

ISLAND SOLDIER

Directed by Nathan Fitch| Streaming until 11/11/2021

Follow the Nena family as they grieve the loss of their son – his death in Afghanistan makes waves through the community where nearly everyone is connected to the U.S. military. Known as a “recruiter’s paradise,” Micronesia contributes a disproportionate number of soldiers to the armed forces, who cannot receive benefits…yet young men leave their families behind in pursuit of the American Dream.

RELOCATION, ARKANSAS: THE AFTERMATH OF INCARCERATION

Directed by Vivienne Schiffer | Streaming until 5/11/2020

In 1942, nearly 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry were forced into prisons because they looked like the enemy. Two of those prison camps were in Arkansas, a land of deep racial divide. RELOCATION, ARKANSAS: AFTERMATH OF INCARCERATION weaves remarkable stories into a tale of prejudice and perseverance, hurt and healing, and ultimately, the triumph of reconciliation.

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