10 Shows to Stream during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Posted on May 4, 2022

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month! Austin PBS invites you to join us for a special series of programming celebrating the AAPI community.

1. Pioneers from the East | Austin Revealed

Pioneers from the East reveals the 100+ year histories of three Austin-based Chinese-American families, and the traces of their Chinese cultures that live on to this day.

2. Curtain Up! | America ReFramed

In New York City's Chinatown, the theater club of PS 124 is staging an adaptation of the film "Frozen.” As the 5th graders gear up and rehearse for the musical production, nervous excitement and flubbed lines brush up against cultural stereotypes, family expectations and post-graduation uncertainties. Curtain Up! shares a kid’s-eye view of the wonders of discovering art, culture and identity.

3. Asian Americans

Asian Americans is a five-hour film series that delivers a bold, fresh perspective on a history that matters today, more than ever. As America becomes more diverse, and more divided while facing unimaginable challenges, how do we move forward together? Told through intimate personal stories, the series will cast a new lens on U.S. history and the ongoing role that Asian Americans have played.

4. Far East Deep South | America ReFramed

Charles Chiu and his family’s search for their roots takes them on an eye-opening journey through the Mississippi Delta, uncovering otherwise unknown stories and the racially complex history of Chinese immigrants in the segregated South. This Chinese American family’s unforgettable story offers a poignant and important perspective on race relations, immigration and American identity.

5. Try Harder! | Independent Lens

At Lowell High School, San Francisco's academic pressure cooker, the kids are stressed out. With a majority Asian American student body, high-achieving seniors share their dreams and anxieties about getting into a top university. But is college worth the grind? Available to stream through May 31.

6. The Healer Stones of Kapaemahu | Pacific Heartbeat

On Honolulu's famous Waikiki Beach stand four large stones that represent a Hawaiian tradition of healing and gender diversity that is all but unknown to the millions of locals and tourists passing by. According to legend, the stones are a tribute to four mahu, people of dual male and female spirit, who brought the healing arts from Tahiti to Hawaii and used their spiritual power to cure disease.

7. 20 Years of Asian American Playwriting

Theater luminaries explore the evolution of Asian American playwriting, including David Henry Hwang, Young Jean Lee, Mike Lew, Rehana Lew Mirza, Lauren Yee, Chay Yew, Qui Nguyen and Lloyd Suh. Created by Ralph B. Peña of Ma-Yi Theater Company.

8. First Vote | America ReFramed

With unparalleled access to a diverse cross section of politically engaged Chinese Americans, First Vote offers a character-driven verité look at Chinese American electoral organizing in North Carolina and Ohio. The film weaves their stories from the presidential election of 2016 to the 2018 midterms, and explores the intersections between immigration, voting rights and racial justice.

9. Alternative Facts: The Lies of Executive Order 9066

The Lies of Executive Order 9066 tells the untold story of false information and political influences which led to the World War ll incarceration of Japanese Americans. The film also examines the parallels to the targeting of groups today and similar attempts to abuse the powers of the government.

10. The Last Season | America ReFramed

Each September, the town of Chemult, Oregon is flooded with mushroom hunters. Many are immigrants from Laos, Cambodia and Thailand who entered the U.S. as refugees in the 1980s. Here, veterans Kouy Loch and Roger Higgins find more than just the rare matsutake in the woods; they create a familial bond and a means to slowly heal the wounds of war. Available to stream through May 28.

Don't forget--Austin PBS also has a full broadcast schedule of programs celebrating the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. Check out the schedule and tune in!