PBS To Offer Special Programming For Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Posted by PBS Publicity on

Arlington, VA - April 24, 2006 - From kungfu monks to the cultural significance of the hula to World War II heroes, PBS features year-round programming by and about Asian Americans. In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, celebrated each May, PBS will present a special line-up of new and encore presentations that focus on Asians and Pacific Islanders and their vibrant cultural heritage in the United States. Reflecting the diversity of ethnicities, experiences and regions with a breadth unlikely to be found anywhere else, these compelling programs examine the rich history, cultural contributions and fascinating heritage of Asian Pacific Americans.

Press Preview Copies of Programs Available Upon Request


Tuesdays, 10:00 p.m. ET (check local listings)

This anthology series showcases documentaries, and a small number of dramas, united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement and unflinching visions of their independent producers. Encompassing the full spectrum of film - from history to drama to animation to shorts to social-issue films - INDEPENDENT LENS allows audiences greater access to powerful and innovative programs. Edie Falco hosts.

"Fishbowl" (New) and "American Made" (New)
Tuesday, May 9, 10:00 - 11:00 p.m. ET

Adapted from Lois-Ann Yamanaka's Wild Meat and the Bully Burgers, the dramatic short "Fishbowl" follows 11-year-old Lovey of Hilo, Hawaii, as she tries to be anything but herself. By Kayo Hatta, Linda Barry and Eleanor Nakama-Mitsunaga. Co-presentation with PBS Hawaii and the Center for Asian American Media. "American Made" confronts issues of tradition, faith, conformity and sacrifice when a Sikh-American family is stranded in the desert on their way to the Grand Canyon. By Sharat Raju and Marcus Cano.

"Shaolin Ulysses: Kungfu Monks in America" (Encore)
May 2006 (check local listings)

The famous fighting monks of the Shaolin Monastery have experienced a resurgence throughout the world, aided in part by the popularity of kung-fu movies among the hip-hop set and films like The Matrix and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. This film follows a handful of Shaolin monks who have brought the style to America, chronicling their adventures in New York City, Houston and Las Vegas.

"Vietnam: The Next Generation" (Encore)
May 2006 (check local listings)

Eight young Vietnamese, some born in the final days of the Vietnam War, others in the war's tragic aftermath, are entrepreneurs and street kids, farmers and students, artists and engineers. Together they embody the hopes, dreams and frustrations of a new Vietnam. Through their stories, this groundbreaking program takes an in-depth look at modern-day Vietnam, where communism and capitalism are going head-to-head. By: Sandra Northrop.

May 2006 (check local listings)
This feature-length film tells the story of Viki, a young girl shamed by her village for being poor and the daughter of a convicted thief. The lush, tropical beauty of Rotuma, an island 300 miles north of Fiji, contrasts with the stifling conformity of island culture as Viki - inspired and haunted by the Warrior Woman from her island's mythology - fights for justice and her freedom.

Tuesdays, continuing series, 10:00 p.m. ET (check local listings)

P.O.V. presents an array of groundbreaking and distinctive perspectives on contemporary life as chronicled by some of America's and Europe's most visionary non-fiction filmmakers.

"American Aloha: Hula Beyond Hawai'i"
May 2006 (check local listings)

For Hawaiians, the hula is not just a dance but a way of life - even for those who no longer live on the islands. While most Americans know only the stereotypes of grass skirts and coconut bras, the hula is a living tradition that tells of the rich history and spirituality of Hawai'i through music, language and dance. A renaissance of Hawaiian culture continues to grow in California. Following three kumu hula, or master hula teachers, the film celebrates the perpetuation of a culture - from the very traditional to the contemporary - as it evolves on distant shores. With more Native Hawaiians living on the mainland than in the state of Hawai'i, the revival of Hawaiian pride that began in the 1970s on the islands continues for future generations through the hula. Revealing the survival of Hawai'i's indigenous culture from near-destruction, "American Aloha" is a reminder of the power of reclaiming tradition for communities creating a home away from home

May 2006 (check local listings)

RIDING THE WAVE: THE WHALE RIDER STORY is a documentary that tells how Witi Ihimaera's book became Nike Caro's film; how that film was embraced by New Zealanders and won hearts around the world; and how a movie made in the small settlement of Whangara traveled all the way to the Oscars and beyond.

May 2006 (check local listings)

The history of World War II holds many tales of extraordinary courage. One of the most compelling and inspirational is that of Chiune Sugihara. In the face of the Nazi onslaught, this modest diplomat saved thousands of lives, using his authority to rescue fleeing Jewish refugees. This remarkable documentary chronicles the life of Sugihara and the little-known relationship between the Japanese and Jews in the 1930s and 40s.

TIME OF FEAR (Encore) May 2006 (check local listings)

In World War II, more than 110,000 Japanese Americans were forced to leave their homes and relocate to military camps. This documentary tells the story of the 16,000 men, women and children who were sent to two camps in southeast Arkansas, one of the poorest and most racially segregated places in America. It also explores the reactions of the native Arkansans who watched in bewilderment as their tiny towns were overwhelmed by this influx of outsiders. With rare home movies of the camp and interviews with Japanese Americans and Arkansans who lived through these events, TIME OF FEAR is a tale of suspicion and fear, of resilience and of the deep scars left by America's long and unfinished struggle with race.

AN UNTOLD TRIUMPH (Encore) May 2006 (check local listings)

Winner of the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the 2002 Hawaii International Film Festival, this film documents and honors the 7,000 men of the 1st and 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiments of the U.S. Army who fought in World War II. Even though they endured a racist prewar climate and weren't even considered U.S. citizens, Filipinos in America rallied to join the American war effort after the fateful bombing of Pearl Harbor. On January 2, 1942, President Roosevelt signed an executive order allowing Filipinos to join the U.S. Army and form a volunteer all-Filipino unit. These troops proved to be skilled fighters and an indispensable force in freeing the Philippines from the Japanese, and, ultimately, in the winning of World War II. AN UNTOLD TRIUMPH imparts personal accounts of the men's contributions and sacrifices during the war. Lou Diamond Phillips narrates.

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Cara White, 843/881-1480; cara.white@mac.com