NEW YORK – Asian Americans, a new five-part documentary series, which premiers May 11 and 12, 2020 on PBS examines the significant role of the fastest-growing racial/ethnic group in the U.S. and explores the impact of this group on the country’s past, present and future.
“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.”
The film is a timely, clear-eyed look at the vital role that Asian Americans have played in defining who they are as a nation. Their stories are a celebration of the grit and resilience of a people that reflects the experience of all Americans.
This series follows the stories of trailblazers, both prominent and forgotten, who had an impact on representation and what it means to be Asian American today. Interviewees in the film include Pulitzer Prize-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen, activist Helen Zia, actor Randall Park, comedian Hari Kondabolu, and academic expert Erika Lee.
“Asian Americans is a comprehensive multiplatform initiative that will embrace the question of what it means to be an American,” said Sharon Percy Rockefeller, President, and CEO of WETA.
As the United States is rapidly becoming more diverse, but also more divided, how do Americans move forward together? Through the lens of the country’s fastest-growing population, Asian Americans illuminate the way one group of Americans, who were long excluded and considered outsiders, have pursued two visions of the American Dream: one of opportunity and a better life, but also the pursuit of ideals of equality and a more perfect union. Their stories are a celebration of the grit and resilience of a people that reflects the experience of all Americans.
“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,” said Stephen Gong, Executive Director of the Center for Asian American Media.
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, Asian Americans is led by a team of Asian American filmmakers including Academy Award®-nominated series producer Renee Tajima-Peña (Who Killed Vincent Chin?, No Más Bebés).
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.
Cast includes Sandra Oh, Greg Watanabe, actors; and, Daniel Dae Kim and Tamlyn Tomita, narrators.