Groundbreaking Documentary Series ASIAN AMERICANS Airs Saturday’s Beginning May 1 at 9 pm< < Back to
The most ambitious television chronicle of the Asian American story in the United States
ASIAN AMERICANS, a five-part documentary series 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 (Who Killed Vincent Chin?, No Más Bebés), 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.
“As America’s home for documentaries, PBS is committed to telling stories that illuminate and celebrate the rich diversity of our country,” said Paula Kerger, PBS President and CEO. “We are proud to share this important series with our audiences, and to deepen understanding about the extraordinary impact of Asian Americans on our national identity.”
“We are proud to have WETA as a partner on this milestone series, which weaves the histories of many Asian American communities within the broad sweep of American history,” said Stephen Gong, Executive Director of the Center for Asian American Media. “These are American stories: stories of resilience in the face of racism, of overcoming challenges as refugees from war and strife, of making contributions in all sectors of society: business, technology, military service, and the arts. These Asian American experiences and voices provide a vital foundation for a future fast approaching, in which no single ethnic or racial group defines America, in which shared principles will define who we are as Americans.”
Episode 1: Breaking Ground
Saturday, May 1, 9:00-10:00pm
In an era of exclusion and U.S. empire, new immigrants arrive from China, India, Japan, the Philippines and beyond. Barred by anti-Asian laws they become America’s first “undocumented immigrants,” yet they build railroads, dazzle on the silver screen, and take their fight for equality to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Episode 2: A Question of Loyalty
Saturday, May 8, 9:00-10:00pm
An American-born generation straddles their country of birth and their parents’ homelands in Asia. Those loyalties are
tested during World War II, when families are imprisoned in detention camps, and brothers find themselves on opposite sides of the battle lines.
Episode 3: Good Americans
Saturday, May 15, 9:00-10:00pm
During the Cold War years, Asian Americans are simultaneously heralded as a Model Minority, and targeted as the perpetual foreigner. It is also a time of bold ambition, as Asian Americans aspire for the first time to national political office and a coming culture-quake simmers beneath the surface.
Episode 4: Generation Rising
Saturday, May 22, 9:00-10:00pm
During a time of war and social tumult, a young generation fights for equality in the fields, on campuses and in the culture, and claim a new identity: Asian Americans. The war’s aftermath brings new immigrants and refugees who expand the population and the definition of Asian America.
Episode 5: Breaking Through
Saturday, May 29, 9:00-10:00pm
At the turn of the new millennium, the country tackles conflicts over immigration, race, economic disparity, and a shifting world order. A new generation of Asian Americans are empowered by growing numbers and rising influence but face a reckoning of what it means to be an American in an increasingly polarized society.
ASIAN AMERICANS is a production of WETA Washington, DC and the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) for PBS, in association with the Independent Television Service (ITVS), Flash Cuts and Tajima-Peña Productions. The series executive producers are Jeff Bieber and Dalton Delan for WETA; Stephen Gong and Donald Young for CAAM; Sally Jo Fifer for ITVS; and Jean Tsien. The series producer is Renee Tajima-Peña. The producer for Flash Cuts is Eurie Chung. The episode producers are S. Leo Chiang, Geeta Gandbhir and Grace Lee. The consulting producer is Mark Jonathan Harris.
Major funding for ASIAN AMERICANS is provided by Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), Ford Foundation/JustFilms, National Endowment for the Humanities, The Freeman Foundation, The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Kay Family Foundation, Long Family Foundation, Spring Wang and California Humanities.