Collection Summary

The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) Collection contains over 100 videos that speak to the Asian experience through the lens of history. The collection consists of documentaries, series, and dramas that feature Asian American experiences and create opportunities for audiences to gain new perspectives and understand diverse stories of Asian Americans. The collection includes early broadcasts by the ground-breaking Asian American anthology series Silk Screen (1982-1987), which explores the subject of identity and treatment of Asian Americans in the San Francisco Bay Area; as well as episodes of Living Asia, a news program produced by Keiko Bang and hosted by Lea Salonga, that shows the diversity and richness of Asian life. The CAAM collection contains a number of documentaries, including The Flute Player (2003) about a musician’s return to Cambodia with hopes to revive the traditional music that disappeared under the Khmer Rouge and to reconcile the demons of his past; The Split Horn (2001) which follows a Hmong shaman and his family from Laos as they cope with resettlement and acculturation in America; Yours Truly, Miss Chinatown (2008); Daughter from Danang (2002) about a Vietnamese mother and daughter who were separated as part of Operation Babylift in 1975 and were reunited 22 years later; A World Beneath the War (1997) about the Cu Chi tunnels built during the Vietnam War; and Survivors (1982) which interviews survivors of the atomic bomb which dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Also included in the collection are multiple dramas, including Eagle Against the Sun (1992), Visas and Virtue and Silencio (1999), The Shangri-La Cafe (2000), Yellow (1998), and Turbans (1999). The collection as a whole speaks to the complexities of Asian American life, culture, and experiences, evoking the universal struggle and resilience of the human condition. Researchers can access the CAAM collection only on location at the Library of Congress and through WGBH.

Collection Background

The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to presenting stories that convey the richness and diversity of Asian American experiences to the broadest audience possible. CAAM funds, produces, distributes, and exhibits works in film, television, and digital media. For over 40 years, CAAM has exposed audiences to new voices and communities, advancing the collective understanding of the American experience through programs specifically designed to engage the Asian American community and the public at large. This collection was digitized as part of the American Archive of Public Broadcasting’s Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellowship by Fellows Tanya Yule (2018-2019) and Jen Scott (2022-2023), with a partnership between the Center for Asian American Media, The Bay Area Video Coalition and San José State University.