Watch Over 50 Asian American Documentaries on Public Television This May

Drawn Together
CAAM funded "Drawn Together" and "Jaddoland" make their broadcast premieres, along with a full slate of documentary programming for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month this May, World Channel will showcase the stories of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States with 52 documentary films. With themes of social justice and courage, these films highlight the ways in which Asian Pacific Americans have triumphed and impacted history in a myriad of ways. 

“By considering the narratives of people who’ve experienced adversity and injustice, yet persevered and even triumphed, we gain a better understanding of how to protect others who might be facing similar challenges,” said WGBH and World Channel General Manager Liz Cheng. “In these times of uncertainty with ignorance and prejudice on the rise, hearing the voices of diverse filmmakers depicting the realities of their communities is more important than ever. We are proud to carry these exceptional films on World Channel.”

“CAAM is honored to partner with the World Channel to bring public television viewers nationwide these glimpses at the Asian American experience, ” says CAAM Executive Director Stephen Gong. “Both of our organizations share a commitment to diversity and inclusion through compelling and nuanced storytelling.”


Highlights for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

  • America ReFramed: Jaddoland (CAAM Documentary Fund recipient), which takes a fresh look at the American immigrant story of a daughter exploring her mother’s art and its connections to her new life in Texas. Director Nadia Shihab  presents a unique picture of how art can help both the creator and the audience make sense of familial and cultural connections, loss, perseverance and getting on with life. Jaddoland premieres on World Channel May 12 at 8pm ET. Streaming: May 12, 2020 – May 11, 2021
  • Drawn Together: Comics, Diversity and Stereotypes (CAAM Media Fund recipient) traces the fascinating journey of three comic creators who challenge race, religious and gender stereotypes through cartoons, comics and cosplay—the practice of inhabiting a character. Creator’s Keith Knight, Vishavjit Singh and Eileen Alden channel their anger and frustration about intolerance and discrimination by spreading a more positive message through their artistry. Premieres Sunday, May 3 on World Channel at 10pm ET and will also be available for streaming on the World Channel’s YouTube channel for the month of May.
  • America ReFramed: 9-Man is a competitive Chinese American sport with roots that trace back to the Toisan region of Guangdong province. In North America, the game — akin to volleyball — was a way for Chinese workers to escape the drudgery of menial labor during an era of extreme discrimination. This film, a CAAM Documentary Fund recipient, shows how 9-Man provides a lasting connection to culture and community pride for players who know a different, more integrated America. Airs Tuesday, May 26 on WORLD Channel at 7pm ET.  Streaming: May 1 – June 30.
  • America ReFramed: Nailed It introduces the workers behind the $8 billion manicure economy. In 1975, nail salons offered Vietnamese war refugees a pathway to financial independence and the American dream. In turn, the salons offer a space for “me-time,” community gathering and affordable luxury for people of diverse social and economic backgrounds. Along the way, filmmaker Adele Pham learns about and develops a closer connection to the Vietnamese side of her heritage. Airs Tuesday, May 26 on WORLD Channel at 9pm ET. Streaming: May 26 – June 25.

World Channel will also air a double feature of America ReFramed: 9-Man and America ReFramed: Nailed It on Tuesday, May 26.

Tim Tsai’s “Seadrift.”

More APAHM Broadcasts

  • The Registry directed by Bill Kubota and Steve Ozone chronicles the efforts of aging World War II veterans to document the crucial work they performed as translators in the Pacific theater and the focal point that military service played in their identities. This CAAM Funded film airs 5/1 on will be streaming on
  • Doc World: Finding Samuel Lowe traces CAAM board member Paula Madison’s journey to trace the story of her Chinese grandfather’s journey to Jamaica. Along the way, she finds family and connections she never imagined possible. Broadcasts May 17. Streaming May 17 – June 16.
  • The Chinese Exclusion Act Co-produced by CAAM, The Chinese Exclusion Act sheds a light on the important connections between the Chinese Exclusion Act and the history of American civil liberties, immigration, and culture. Broadcasts Saturday, May 2.
  • Reel South: Seadrift examines the racial tensions in a small Gulf Coast fishing town when Vietnamese refugees move there in 1979. This film is a recipient of the CAAM Documentary Fund. Broadcasts Sunday, May 10.
  • Resistance at Tule Lake focuses on Tule Lake, the notorious camp where Japanese Americans who were labeled “disloyal” were held. This CAAMFest 35 special presentation will be broadcast Sunday, May 24. Streaming: May 24-31.
  • Frontline: Abacus—Small Enough to Jail tells the incredible saga of the Chinese immigrant Sung family, owners of Abacus Federal Savings of Chinatown, New York, the only U.S. bank to face criminal charges in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. This award winning, CAAM-funded film broadcasts Wednesday, May 13. 
  • Asian Americans Episode 1 (Breaking Ground) and Episode 2 (A Question of Loyalty), re-broadcast Friday, May 15. Streaming on until June 8.
  • Asian Americans Episode 3 (Good Americans) and Episode 4 (Generation Rising), and Episode 5 (Breaking Through) re-broadcast Friday, May 22. Streaming on until June 9. 

Presented in partnership with the Center for Asian America Media (CAAM) and Pacific Islanders in Communications (PICC), World Channel will feature 52 film documentaries in total for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month throughout May. For a complete list of Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month-themed films broadcasting on World Channel, click here

World Channel features the beauty and messiness of humanity through intimate stories told by daring filmmakers from around the globe. Carried by 174 public media stations across the country, World Channel shares domestic and international news, documentaries and fact-based informational programming designed to help viewers understand conflicts, movements and cultures different from their own.