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Celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2021

Celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month With These Films Premiering in May

May 1, 2021

By Beatrice Alvarez

May is Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. Every year, this is an opportunity to listen and learn about the diversity within AAPI communities as well as how deep the connections are to all facets of American history. Several new films and shows featuring AAPI stories will premiere this month on your local stations. We're also happy to present many more titles that you can stream, including memorable films that have previously aired on PBS stations.

Make sure you follow PBS on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram all month long, as we'll feature AAPI stories that you can stream every day.

Premiering This Month:

Amy Tan:  Unintended Memoir | American Masters | May 3

American Masters

Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir

Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir is an intimate portrait of the groundbreaking writer.

Far East Deep South | America ReFramed | May 4

America ReFramed

Far East Deep South | Trailer

A Chinese American family’s search for their roots leads them to the Mississippi Delta.

Curtain Up! | America ReFramed | May 11

America ReFramed

Curtain Up! | Trailer

While preparing to stage a musical, Chinatown kids discover their own cultural identities.

The Donut King | Independent Lens | May 24

Independent Lens

Trailer | The Donut King

Meet the Donut King, the Cambodian refugee who built a multi-million-dollar empire baking

Streaming Now:

Asian Americans | Watch the Series

Asian Americans

Breaking Ground

In an era of exclusion and U.S. empire, new immigrants arrive and adapt to life in America

Mr. Tornado | American Experience

American Experience

Mr. Tornado

The story of Ted Fujita's groundbreaking work to understand the deadliest storms.

Prom | Film School Shorts

Film School Shorts


A blossoming teen romance is derailed by racism.

Down a Dark Stairwell | Independent Lens

Independent Lens

Down a Dark Stairwell

Sometimes the quest for racial justice isn’t black and white.

Anik Khan: Street Level | American Masters

American Masters

Anik Khan: Street Level

Explore the music of Anik Khan, the Bangladesh-born, Queens, NY-raised hip-hop artist.

Delano Manongs | Viewfinder


Delano Manongs

Forgotten Heroes of the United Farm Workers

Out of State | Independent Lens

Independent Lens

Out of State

American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs | POV | Begins streaming May 3


American Revolutionary: Meet Grace Lee Boggs

Meet Grace Lee Boggs, waging a revolution for over 75 years.

Maia Cruz Palileo: Becoming the Moon | American Masters

American Masters

Maia Cruz Palileo: Becoming the Moon

Maia Cruz Palileo is a multi-disciplinary artist who explores themes of migration.

Standing Above the Clouds | PBS Short FilmFestival

PBS Short Film Festival

Standing Above the Clouds

Native Hawaiian mother-daughter activist stand to protect their sacred mountain Mauna Kea.

Seadrift | Reel South



A fatal shooting in Texas ignites a maelstrom of hostilities against Vietnamese refugees.

Random Acts of Legacy | America ReFramed

America ReFramed

Random Acts of Legacy

A portrait of a Chinese American family in Depression-era America through home movies.

Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio: This is the Way We Rise | American Masters

American Masters

Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio: This Is the Way We Rise

Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio is a Kanaka Maoli wahine poet, activist, and academic.

The Ito Sisters | Viewfinder


The Ito Sisters

Explore the lives of three Nisei sisters from the Sacramento Delta, including internment.

Eating Up Easter | Independent Lens

Independent Lens

Eating Up Easter

The challenge to protect remote Rapa Nui culture and environment from modernization.

Relish | Twin Cities PBS


Pang Vang's Hmong-style Steam Buns

Chef Yia Vang and mom Pang Vang make Pang's Hmong-style pork steam buns.

Island Soldier | America ReFramed

America ReFramed

Island Soldier

The unrecognized sacrifices of foreign soldiers who fight America's wars.

Recent Articles

Race and Racism in America

Watch a collection of films and specials that highlight and add context to the many aspects of race and racism in our country.

Violence Against Asian Americans

If you are hurting, needing comfort or are curious to learn, videos are available for streaming. Additionally, resources to learn how to fight violence against Asian Americans are available.


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