PBS is streaming ASIAN AMERICANS, a five-part documentary series which examines what the 2010 U.S. Census identifies as the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the United States. Told through individual lives and personal histories, ASIAN AMERICANS explores the impact of this group on the country’s past, present, and future.
Led by a team of Asian American filmmakers, including Academy Award®-nominated series producer Renee Tajima-Peña (Who Killed Vincent Chin?, No Más Bebés), ASIAN AMERICANS examines the significant role of Asian Americans in shaping American history and identity, from the first wave of Asian immigrants in the 1850s and identity politics during the social and cultural turmoil of the twentieth century to modern refugee crises in a globally connected world.
ASIAN AMERICANS is 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. 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.
Major funding for ASIAN AMERICANS is provided by Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), Ford Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, The Freeman Foundation, The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Kay Family Foundation, Long Family Foundation, Spring Wang and Cal Humanities.
SAG-AFTRA has released a PSA featuring performers, broadcast journalists and social media influencers calling on all Americans to stand against the stigma, xenophobia and harassment related to COVID-19 that Asian Americans continue to experience. The video was inspired by the sudden spike in hate crimes against Asian Americans during the pandemic.
The full video can be viewed below:
Sixteen SAG-AFTRA members appear in the PSA including Jon Jon Briones, Christina Chang, Juju Chang, Joel De La Fuente, Amy Hill, James Hong, Carrie Ann Inaba, Ken Jeong, Clyde Kusatsu, Jodi Long, Lucy Liu, Tzi Ma, Jeannie Mai, Vincent Rodriguez III, Iqbal Theba and Hudson Yang.
“As a global community, we are experiencing a historically difficult time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, instead of working together to get through this crisis, a few misguided people are looking for a scapegoat. We are still seeing a shocking increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans, including shunning, racial profiling, verbal harassment and even physical assault. This is a time of high stress, but that is no excuse for discriminatory behavior. We are all Americans and we are all in this together,” said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris.
“SAG-AFTRA is paying attention to those brave Asian American voices coming forward with their heart-wrenching experiences of harassment. We are listening to our members who have a stake in shaping a better world, free of discrimination and harassment, and we applaud Asian American activists, organizations and allies who are bringing attention to this issue. SAG-AFTRA stands with you,” said Ren Hanami, chair of the SAG-AFTRA National Asian Pacific American Media Committee,
“If you experience hateful, criminal behavior or witness it, please report it to your local law enforcement. Let’s stand up for each other,” added Carteris.
The video premiered today during the union’s Race & Storytelling: Asian American Voices livestream panel discussion, which explored the ways in which better representation in the media and three-dimensional portrayals of Asian American Pacific Islander characters can counter stereotypes and result in larger societal impact. You can view the panel discussion below:
The panel was moderated by Jeff Yang, CNN Opinion contributor and cohost of the They Call Us Bruce podcast. Panelists were: Clyde Kusatsu, actor, Dr. Ken; Christina Chang, actor, The Good Doctor; Juju Chang, broadcast journalist, ABC News’ Nightline; Parvesh Cheena, actor, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend; Leslie Woo, casting director, The Farewell; and Hudson Yang, actor, Fresh Off the Boat.
Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs. The Lia Chang theater portfolio collection,1989-2011, is in the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) collection located in the Library of Congress’ Asian Reading Room and can be accessed here.
Los Angeles, CA – April 21, 2020 – Visual Communications (VC), presenters of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF), announced today the LAAPFF VIRTUAL SHOWCASE, a free digital showcase of films and panels to unite with audiences during this unprecedented time. The online showcase will highlight artists whose stories are critical at this moment in dealing with the COVID-19 Pandemic. This first time event begins May 1st and will run through May 28 as part of the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.
The LAAPFF was slated to launch its 36th edition on April 30th, 2020 in theaters in Los Angeles. However, when local and state health authorities advised on minimizing the number of social gatherings due to COVID-19, VC decided to postpone the physical, in-theater screening events and focus on developing an online virtual experience. With everyone at home, this will enable the landmark festival to reach a national audience, as well.
In addition, radical reaction to the virus has thrust the Asian Pacific American community directly into the spotlight with a rise in anti-Asian American sentiment and violence. Coupled with the month of May being Asian Pacific Heritage Month, the timing of this festival becomes even more important for the Asian Pacific Community and all communities across the nation.
“Visual Communications acknowledges that this virus has been racialized and has incited hateful acts towards Asian Americans,” stated Francis Cullado – Executive Director of Visual Communications. “While seeing anti-Asian sentiments that perpetuate perilous narratives, VC and the Festival will continue to be a space for expression, engagement, and empowerment. Our LAAPFF VIRTUAL SHOWCASE of these films underscores our determination to stay connected during this moment of isolation. And, we hope to bridge all communities through film and discourse and hopefully, instill understanding.”
The LAAPFF VIRTUAL SHOWCASE will launch May 1st with its Opening Day Film – the premiere sneak preview of Episodes 3 and 4 of the upcoming groundbreaking PBS Documentary Series ASIAN AMERICANS. Both episodes will be available from 8AM PST to 8PM PST in the LAAPFF VIRTUAL SHOWCASE for personal viewing. Then at 5PM PST/8PM EST, there will be a special online Q&A with the filmmakers and special guests will take place to discuss the film and current issues. View the trailer for ASIAN AMERICANS here.
The LAAPFF VIRTUAL SHOWCASE will also feature the festival World Premiere of FIRST VOTE on May 5. Directed by Yi Chen, this insightful film focuses on the current Asian American experience at the election polls in the United States. Through in-depth honest and revealing conversations with four Asian American voters in battleground states, the filmmaker also contemplates exercising her own right to vote in America – a first time for her. An online post Q/A discussion with director Chen and subjects from the film will take place at 5PM PST on May 5.
The complete lineup for the LAAPFF VIRTUAL SHOWCASE will be announced on Monday, April 27th. For additional details, please visit festival.vcmedia.org.
ABOUT VISUAL COMMUNICATIONS
Visual Communications’ mission is to develop and support the voices of Asian American and Pacific Islander filmmakers and media artists who empower communities and challenge perspectives. Founded in 1970 with the understanding that media and the arts are powerful forms of storytelling, Visual Communications creates cross cultural connections between peoples and generations. The organization turns 50 in 2020. Learn more at vcmedia.org.
ABOUT THE LOS ANGELES ASIAN PACIFIC FILM FESTIVAL
In keeping with directives from the local, state, and federal health agencies, Visual Communications (VC) has rescheduled the 36th Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) to a later date as they continue their commitment to the well being of our volunteers, artists, and audiences.
Presented by Visual Communications, the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival is the premiere showcase for the best and brightest of Asian Pacific American and international cinema. The largest festival of its kind in Southern California, LAAPFF is also a proud Academy Award®-qualifying film festival for the Short Film Awards. For more information, please visit festival.vcmedia.org.
Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young.