Image with the words Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Every May we take extra time to celebrate Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month by shining a light on AANHPI experiences and filmmakers.

Enjoy this selection of films, some premiering in May as well as some gems to revisit. These documentaries celebrate the light and love in our diverse AANHPI communities. We also recognize the need to face ugly truths about events of racism, xenophobia, and violence targeted towards AAPI communities. When we are honest about the past, we can begin to heal from the wounds of hate and in doing so, make a better future together.

Why is AANHPI Heritage Month celebrated in May?

In 1977 the U.S. Congress (spearheaded by Representative Frank Horton of New York and Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawai'i) chose the first ten days of May to commemorate the history and contributions of Asian American communities here in the U.S. The week's observance became a month, the very month in which the first Japanese immigrants came to the U.S. in 1843. We also commemorate the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869 as the majority of workers who laid those railroad tracks were Chinese immigrants. And that's why AANHPI Heritage Month is in May.

Documentaries Streaming in May Featuring Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Voices

A People's History of Asian America

Produced in partnership by the Center for Asian American Media and PBS Digital Studios, A People’s History of Asian America tells the history of Asian Americans through the microaggressions and stereotypes this community faces.

In this episode, Hosts Dolly Li and Adrian De Leon hear from South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander voices to explore the pros and cons of disaggregating Asian American as a statistical category.

Watch Pacific Heartbeat

Pacific Heartbeat is a national public television series of critically acclaimed documentaries that provides an authentic glimpse into the Pacific Islander experience. Creative and beautifully told stories about arts, culture and intimate human stories, the series features a diverse array of programs intended to draw viewers into the heart and soul of Pacific Island culture.

Watch The Healer Stones of Kapaemahu, a film from Pacific Heartbeat that explains the four large stones on Honolulu's famous Waikiki Beach that represent a Hawaiian tradition of healing and gender diversity.

Watch Pacific Heartbeat

Growing Up Asian | Stories from the Stage

Every day, millions of people are creating their own definitions of what it means to be Asian American. Suzanne works with a parents association to organize during Boston's busing desegregation crisis and gains strength from the women; David travels to China for the first time to connect with his roots; and after being held at gunpoint in her family’s store, Eson learns the definition of love.

Watch Stories from the Stage

Family Ingredients

Get an introduction to interesting people and riveting stories linked by a family recipe, starting from a base in Hawaii to locations such as Japan and Puerto Rico. Find the rich and sometimes surprising connections to a treasured family dish.

Host and chef Ed Kenney is the perfect guide for each episode's culinary journey. You can stream seasons 1 and 2 now, and stay tuned for season 3 coming later this year.

Watch Family Ingredients

Stream the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Collection

Stream a special collection of documentaries and programs featuring AANHPI voices, experiences, history, and more!

Norman Mineta and His Legacy: An American Story

We honor the life and legacy of Norman Y. Mineta, who passed away on May 3, 2022.

You can learn more about the statesman who served as cabinet secretary for Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush. Imprisoned by the U.S. during World War II for his Japanese ancestry, Mineta rose to become the first Asian American to serve in a presidential cabinet.

In this clip from the film (the full documentary is streaming in Passport) Norman Mineta recalls the bombing of Pearl Harbor when he was just 10 years old and its impact on Japanese-Americans.

Watch the Full Episode

A Celebration of the AA and NHPI Community

A Celebration of the AA and NHPI Community: Highlighting Our Diverse Tapestry brings Asian Americans and Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders together to celebrate across their communities, uplift their voices, and look toward a future of healing and strength. Hosted by Amna Nawaz of the PBS NewsHour

Watch the full Episode

Lea Salonga in Concert | Great Performances

Captured in peak performance with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Tony Award-winner Lea Salonga performs the beloved songs she made famous throughout her Broadway career, as well as her signature songs from the animated movie blockbusters “Aladdin” and “Mulan” from the Sydney Opera House.

Watch the full episode

Stream the five-part series: 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.

Watch the full series