Skip to main content
About PBS
Email share

Arlington, VA  April 23, 2007 - In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, celebrated each May, PBS will present a special line-up of new and encore presentations that focus on Asians and Pacific Islanders. From a history of Asian-American actors in film and television (THE SLANTED SCREEN) to young Cambodian refugees facing separation from their families through deportation (INDEPENDENT LENS "Sentenced Home"); from Pacific Islander and Maori dancers (BLACK GRACE) to the power of art to heal one man's life (INDEPENDENT LENS "The Cats of Mikiritani"), PBS presents a wide range of exciting programs made by and about Asian Pacific Americans year-round.

Reflecting the diversity of ethnicities, experiences and regions with a breadth unlikely to be found anywhere else, these compelling programs examine the rich history, cultural contributions and absorbing heritage of Asian Pacific Americans.

Press Preview Copies of Programs Available Upon Request

New Programming


This anthology series showcases documentaries, and a small number of dramas, united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement and unflinching visions of their independent producers. Encompassing the full spectrum of film - from history to drama to animation to shorts to social-issue films - INDEPENDENT LENS allows audiences greater access to powerful and innovative programs. Terrence Howard hosts.

"The Cats of Mirikitani"

Tuesday, May 8, 2007, 10:30-11:30 p.m. ET

Eighty-year-old Jimmy Mirikitani has survived the trauma of internment camps, Hiroshima and homelessness by creating art. But when 9/11 threatens his life on the New York City streets and a local filmmaker brings him to her home, the two embark on a journey to confront Jimmy's painful past. This film is an intimate exploration of the lingering wounds of war and the healing powers of friendship and art. By Linda Hattendorf and Masahiro Yoshikawa.

"Sentenced Home"

Tuesday, May 15, 2007, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET

Raised as Americans in inner-city projects near Seattle, three young Cambodian refugees each made a rash decision as a teenager that irrevocably shaped his destiny. Now facing deportation to Cambodia years later, they find themselves caught between a tragic past and an uncertain future by a system that doesn't offer any second chances. By Nicole Newnham and David Grabias.


Thursday, May 10, 2007, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET

From silent film star Sessue Hayakawa to Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Jeff Adachi's film explores the portrayals of Asian men in American cinema and television, chronicling the experiences of actors who have had to struggle against ethnic stereotyping and limiting roles. Through a parade of 50 film clips spanning a century, the film presents a critical examination of Hollywood's image-making machine. The program includes interviews with actors Mako, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, James Shigeta, Dustin Nguyen, Phillip Rhee, Will Yun Lee, Tzi Ma and Jason Scott Lee; comedian Bobby Lee; producer Terence Chang; casting director Heidi Levitt; writer Frank Chin; and directors Gene Cajayon, Justin Lin and Eric Byler and features a new song performed by the San Francisco rock-punk band Say Bok Gwai. Presenter: Center for Asian American Media.


Thursday, June 21, 2007, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET

When Black Grace, a dance troupe of Pacific Islander and Maori men, first burst onto the New Zealand stage in 1995 they were a revelation. Fusing traditional Pacific and contemporary dance forms with athleticism and grace, they electrified audiences. Led by Artistic Director Neil Ieremia, Black Grace evolved from a crew of Neal's "mates" into one of New Zealand's national treasures and conquered the world's dance festivals, culminating with Jacob's Pillow in the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts. This film follows Black Grace's journey from Cannon's Creek, a small town outside of Auckland, New Zealand, to the prestigious Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, the oldest one of its kind in North America. Presenter: Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC).


May 2007 (check local listings)

KEEPERS OF THE FLAME chronicles the lives of three Hawaiian women who, more than any other 20th-century figures, helped to revive the flame of traditional Hawaiian culture. Historian and author Mary Kawena Pukui, dancer and chanter, Iolani Luahine, and kumu hula and teacher Edith Kanaka'ole kept their culture alive in a time when things Hawaiian were under threat. They were instrumental in the Hawaiian renaissance. Producer: The Hawaiian Legacy Foundation. Presenter: Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC).


May 2007 (check local listings)

Expatriates return to the tiny island nation of Tuvalu to find a place vastly different from the one they remember. As the locals and ex-pats struggle to cope with the dramatic effects of globalization on Tuvaluan culture, an even greater threat looms. Driven by global warming, a steadily rising sea level is stealing their precious land. TIME AND TIDE is a poetic and absorbing documentary about a land, its people and irreversible tragedy. Presenter: Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC).

Encore Programming


May 2007 (check local listings)

This performance documentary reveals the cultural history and diversity of the Pacific Islands; a vibrant and complex region encompassing 25,000 islands, spread over 10 million square miles of ocean, in which 30 million people speak hundreds of different languages and dialects, through their "dance stories," which for nearly 50,000 years have been an expression of Pacific Islanders' origins, their journeys, their struggles and their very existence. The program views dance through the eyes of the people who practice it as an art form and as a way of life. Keisha Castle-Hughes, the young star of Whale Rider, narrates. Producer: KQED San Francisco. Presenter: Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC).

INDEPENDENT LENS "Vietnam: The Next Generation"

May 2007 (check local listings)

Eight young Vietnamese - some born in the final days of the Vietnam War, others in the war's tragic aftermath - are entrepreneurs and street kids, farmers and students, artists and engineers. Together they embody the hopes, dreams and frustrations of a new Vietnam. Through their stories, this groundbreaking program takes an in-depth look at modern-day Vietnam, where communism and capitalism are going head-to-head. Producer: Sandra Northrop.


May 2007 (check local listings)

In World War II, more than 110,000 Japanese Americans were forced to leave their homes and relocate to military camps. This documentary tells the story of the 16,000 men, women and children who were sent to two camps in southeast Arkansas, one of the poorest and most racially segregated places in America. It also explores the reactions of the native Arkansans who watched in bewilderment as their tiny towns were overwhelmed by this influx of outsiders. With rare home movies of the camp and interviews with Japanese Americans and Arkansans who lived through these events, TIME OF FEAR is a tale of suspicion and fear, of resilience and of the deep scars left by America's long and unfinished struggle with race. Producer: Ambrica Productions.


May 2007 (check local listings)

Winner of the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the 2002 Hawaii International Film Festival, this film documents and honors the 7,000 men of the 1st and 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiments of the U.S. Army who fought in World War II. Even though they endured a racist prewar climate and weren't even considered U.S. citizens, Filipinos in America rallied to join the American war effort after the fateful bombing of Pearl Harbor. On January 2, 1942, President Roosevelt signed an executive order allowing Filipinos to join the U.S. Army and form a volunteer all-Filipino unit. These troops proved to be skilled fighters and an indispensable force in freeing the Philippines from the Japanese and, ultimately, in the winning of World War II. AN UNTOLD TRIUMPH imparts personal accounts of the men's contributions and sacrifices during the war. Lou Diamond Phillips narrates. Presenter: Center for Asian American Media.

PBS is a media enterprise that serves 355 public noncommercial television stations and reaches more than 75 million people each week through on-air and online content. Bringing diverse viewpoints to television and the Internet, PBS provides high-quality documentary and dramatic entertainment, and consistently dominates the most prestigious award competitions. PBS is a leading provider of educational materials for K-12 teachers, and offers a broad array of other educational services. PBS' premier kids' TV programming and Web site, PBS KIDS Online (, continue to be parents' and teachers' most trusted learning environments for children. More information about PBS is available at, one of the leading dot-org Web sites on the Internet.

- PBS -

CONTACT: Cara White, Tel.: 843/881-1480;