May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and WGBH is broadcasting compelling programs that celebrate the achievements and contributions of this community. From a new series that looks at how the Asian experience illuminates the larger American story to an award-winning documentary about creators challenging race stereotypes in comics, here are ten programs that chronicle the culture, contributions, and challenges of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the U.S.
This award-winning documentary traces the fascinating journey of three comic creators who challenge race, religious, and gender stereotypes through cartoons, comics, and cosplay — the practice of dressing up as a character, especially one from the Japanese genres of manga and anime.
Premiering Sunday, May 3 at 10pm on WGBH WORLD
Season 4 of Lucky Chow is a celebration of America at its most diverse, delightful, and delicious, with each episode exploring the rich and complex Asian-American experience through the lens of food.
Saturday, May 9 at 12pm on WGBH 2
Asian Americans is a five-hour series that documents the contributions and challenges of Asian Americans, the fastest-growing ethnic group in the U.S.
Parts one and two premiering Monday, May 11, at 8pm on WGBH 2. Parts three through five premiering Tuesday, May 12 at 8pm on WGBH 2
P.O.V.: Minding the Gap
This Academy Award-nominated film is a coming-of-age saga of three skateboarding friends in their Rust Belt hometown. In his quest to understand why he and his friends all ran away from home when they were younger, Director Bing Liu follows 23-year-old Zack as he becomes a father and 17-year-old Keire as he gets his first job. Liu explores the gap between fathers and sons, between discipline and domestic abuse, and that precarious chasm between childhood and becoming an adult.
Friday, May 15 at 9:30pm on WGBX 44
AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: Mr. Tornado
This film tells the story of Tetsuya Theodore Fujita, aka "Mr. Tornado," a prominent Japanese-American researcher who was instrumental in advancing modern understanding of many severe weather phenomena and known for creating the Fujita scale of tornado intensity and damage.
Premiering Tuesday, May 19 at 9pm on WGBH 2
No Passport Required: Las Vegas
Chef Marcus Samuelsson visits Las Vegas to learn more about the city's long-standing Chinese community and its food traditions. He makes hand-pulled noodles and Peking duck, eats regional favorites, and learns about the traditions of herbal medicine, teas, and music prevalent in the community.
Friday, May 22 at 9pm on WGBH 2
This film breaks open the hidden history of the U.S. Army's Military Intelligence Service (M.I.S.) during World War II; a story made possible because of a few aging Japanese American veterans with a little Internet savvy and a lot of determination.
Premieres Sunday, May 24 at 10pm on WGBH WORLD
Independent Lens: Eating Up Easter
Eating Up Easter explores the challenges the people of Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island, are facing, and the intergenerational fight to preserve their culture and environment against a backdrop of a modernizing society and a booming tourism trade. Crafted as a story passed down to his newborn son, Director Sergio Mata'u Rapu intertwines the history of the island with the stories of islanders, creating a moving portrait of a society striving to keep step with the rest of the world while maintaining its own unique identity.
Premiering Monday, May 25 at 10pm on WGBH 2
America ReFramed: 9-Man
The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 constrained the formation of Chinese families, creating Chinatown "bachelor societies." In the 1930s, a traveling 9-Man tournament, a competitive Chinese-American sport with roots that trace back to the Toisan region of Guangdong province, emerged to create a fraternity within a community plagued by unjust stereotypes of Asian masculinity. Following several teams, this film captures the spirit of the sport as teams prepare for battle for the championship. While the elders question how to pass the torch, the next generation struggles with maintaining tradition in gentrified urban centers while the community becomes increasingly multi-ethnic.
Tuesday, May 26 at 7pm on WGBH WORLD
America ReFramed: Nailed It
Across the U.S., people get their nails done in salons owned by Vietnamese entrepreneurs who dominate an eight billion dollar economy — a move that began with 20 refugee women and a chance encounter with famed Alfred Hitchcock actress and humanitarian Tippi Hedren. Nailed It introduces the people behind this booming and sometimes controversial industry. Nail salons offered the Vietnamese community a pathway to pursue the American dream and financial independence. In turn, the salons offer a space for "me-time," community, and affordable luxury for people of diverse social and economic backgrounds.
Tuesday, May 26 at 9pm on WGBH WORLD