Celebrating Asian Pacific Heritage Month
Things to Watch
In Canada and the United States, the month of May is meant to celebrate the history and culture of APIs. There are many Asian creatives working today in various forms of media, including literature, podcasts, television, and film. Below you’ll find a list of recommended films, documentaries, and shows from talented APIs, some you’ve heard of before and others you may not have come across until today.
by Lan Nguyen
“Fighting for Family follows Chuh and Rex, who are Montagnard refugees from Vietnam as they raise a family apart while fighting for their family to be reunited. The film discusses war, refugee resettlement, criminalization, and community resistance.” 45 years after the end of the Vietnam War, Lan poses a critical question: “why are Southeast Asian families still separated?” Fighting for Family will be available for free throughout May as part of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. Click here to check out the Fighting for Family trailer.
available on PBS
ASIAN AMERICANS is a 5-hour documentary that examines what the 2010 U.S. Census identifies as the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the United States. Told through individual lives and personal histories, ASIAN AMERICANS explores the impact of this group on the country’s past, present, and future. Led by a team of Asian American filmmakers, including Academy Award-nominated series producer Renee Tajima-Peña, ASIAN AMERICANS examines the significant role of Asian Americans in shaping American history and identity, from the first wave of Asian immigrants in the 1850s and identity politics during the social and cultural turmoil of the twentieth century to modern refugee crises in a globally connected world.
by Yung Chang
“Filmed at the Wing Fong Farm in Ontario, this documentary follows the tilling, planting and harvesting of Asian vegetables destined for Chinese markets and restaurants. On 80 acres of land, Lau King-Fai, her son, and a half-dozen migrant Mexican workers care for the plants. For Yeung Kwan, her son, the farm represents personal and financial independence. For his mother, it is an oasis of peace. For the Mexican workers, it provides jobs that help support their children back home.” – NFB
“Throughout Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May 2020, the LAAPFF Virtual Showcase aims to highlight artists whose stories are critical at this moment. From celebrating our histories and cultures to mobilizing our communities to be socially and politically active, we are looking forward to presenting FREE films and panels to keep us connected.” Visit the Visual Communications website to look at all the films that are streaming for free in May!
with Hasan Minhaj
“The Daily Show alumnus Hasan Minhaj gets the spotlight to himself–and his name in the title–on this Netflix original series. The Peabody Award-winning comic explores the modern cultural and political landscape with depth and sincerity. In each weekly episode, he uses his unique comedic voice and storytelling skill to investigate the larger trends shaping the fragmented world.”
By Bao Nguyen
“When the city of Saigon fell in April of 1975, many Vietnamese refugees would leave their homes in search of a better future aboard. Four decades later, some of the children of these refugees have returned to Vietnam in order to pursue their passions in the emerging entertainment industry. Navigating through complex identities and generational histories, these are their stories, their Employed Identity. The series is directed by Bao Nguyen and supported by CAAM with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.” Watch the series on PBS Indies.
By Julia Kwan
Julia Kwan’s Everything Will Be is a poignant observational documentary showing how gentrification has transformed Vancouver’s once-homogenous, working-class Chinatown. The community’s oldest and newest members offer their intimate perspectives on the shifting landscape as they reflect on change, memory, and legacy.
By Adele Pham
“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 diverse people and relationships behind this booming and enigmatic trade. Nailed It premiered on PBS in May 2019, and is the highest streamed film of the America Reframed series. Uncover the real history of the Vietnamese nail salon! Uncover the genesis and legacy of the Vietnamese nail salon and its influence on an $8 billion-dollar American industry.”