May 1st officially marks the beginning of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month! To celebrate, we have 6 films featuring Asian filmmakers and actors that you should watch!

Written by: Chloe Leung – May 1st, 2021 12:01 am pst

May 1st kicks off Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage month. The month-long celebration aims to acknowledge all the historic achievements of Asian Americans and Pacific islanders as well as the impacts they’ve made on American history. Congress officially designated the month of May to be AAPI heritage month in 1992, and ever since, AAPI communities all across the country have been celebrating the month in an abundance of ways. To kick start the month-long celebration, we have 5 films featuring Asian filmmakers and actors that you need to watch!

Crazy Rich Asians

If you haven’t already seen the critically acclaimed film “Crazy Rich Asians,” it’s definitely a must! Directed by Asian American filmmaker Jon Chu, the $30 Million Hollywood studio production told a story about Asian-Americans, from the perspective of Asian Americans. The romantic comedy took a major step forward in terms of Asian representation in the film industry, as it was the first film to have a full Asian cast since 1993’s “The Joy Luck Club.”

Minari

The successful award season run of “Minari” this year, is just one of many reasons you should watch the film. The film made it onto the list of historic firsts at the 93rd Academy awards. Steven Yuen’s nomination for Best Actor made him the first Asian actor to be nominated for the major category, and Youn Yuh-jung Best Supporting Actress win made her the first Korean actress to be nominated for and win an Oscar. Lee Isaac Chung’s “Minari” brought the voices of Asian immigrants into the spotlight, painting a portrait of the Korean-American experience.

Over The Moon

Netflix’s sweet animated film, “Over The Moon,” is a celebration of Chinese culture and the legend of the Moon Goddess. The film was co-produced by the Shang-hai based, Pearl Studio (the studio also produced the animated film Abominable). While creating the film, Peilin Chou, one of the film’s producers, wanted to ensure that Asian culture was authentically represented within the film. Various creatives of asian descent—including big names such as Phillipa Soo, Margaret Cho, Ken Jeong, and John Cho—were casted to be the voice and soul of characters in the film. If you want to watch a gorgeous animation, portrayed through an Asian lens, this film is it!

The Farewell

Lulu Wang’s 2019 film “The Farewell” featuring Asian American actress Akwafina, was a success both commercially and socially. The bittersweet-comedy follows the life of a Chinese-American woman who finds out her grandmother in China has been diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. She, alongside her family members, fly out to visit her grandmother in her home country. While trying to hide the diagnosis, the family plans a fake wedding as a cover up for the impromptu visit. The independent A24 film was a box office success and made over 7 times its original budget—it even broke a record that was previously held by the Marvel blockbuster.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

While “Shang-Chi” isn’t out yet, it is definitely a film to keep on your radar! This film will be The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first Asian superhero. Marvel sourced Asian cast members from various different markets. Canadian actor, Simu Liu, will be playing the lead, Shang-Chi, while American actress Awkwafina and Hong Kong-star Tony Leung Chiu-Wai Hong will be playing other prominent roles in the film. Shang-shi will be backed by an Asian filmmaking team, including director Destin Daniel.

Let us know which one of these films is your favorite!

Chloe Leung is a senior Journalism student at Emerson College and an aspiring digital producer. She is an intern at Afterbuzz TV and a fanatic of all things entertainment, fashion, and pop culture.

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