7 Asian Pacific Islander Movies & Shows You Should Be Watching

With Korean drama, Squid Games, becoming a worldwide sensation and Asian filmmakers championing award season last year, it’s been a landmark era for representation. Despite only being halfway into 2022, we’re proud to say it’s already turning out to be another golden year for the Asian American communities. From having AAPI faces taking up more blockbuster roles to reflecting our stories in more experimental storytelling, it’s clear that inclusivity has quickly led to innovation. To wrap up Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, here’s our list of new API films and shows you should watch!


Everything, Everywhere, All At Once

The sleeper hit that’s quickly becoming a cultural phenomenon, A24 brings us Everything, Everywhere, All At Once. Chinese American laundromat owner and mother, Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh), is worn down by her struggling business and estranged family relationships while being audited by the IRS. Suddenly, Evelyn is pulled into a multidimensional war where she can tap into any of her consciousnesses across parallel universes. She can become a Kung Fu expert in the blink of an eye or have hot dogs for her fingers. With an all-Asian cast, an intricately woven plot, and uniquely outrageous humor bundled together with a heartwarming message, this sci-fi comedy epic about a dysfunctional family will have you laughing, screaming, crying, cheering, and confused all at once.

Where to watch: In theaters 




The serialized adaptation of the best-selling novel, Pachinko tells the heartbreaking tales of a Korean family throughout three generations. We begin with Sunja Kim, a poor teenager from Japanese-occupied Busan, who immigrates to Japan alone after discovering she is pregnant to seek a better life. The series takes its name after the Japanese gambling machines and, like the game, the characters chance their destinies against all odds in this unpredictable, chaotic world as the story weaves in and out of timelines- questioning hope, loyalty, identity, and power as we follow this family’s lives throughout the century in this powerful, moving drama.

Where to watch: Apple TV



Turning Red

Growing pains can be a mother. Or maybe, a panda? Pixar introduces Mei Lin (Rosalie Chiang), a driven, cheerful 13-year-old girl who proudly balances her teen-boy obsessions with her friends and her family’s enshrined duties as a dedicated daughter. One day, Mei wakes up to find herself as a giant red panda and so begins a race to undo a family curse before it’s too late (or before her favorite band’s concert). Inspired by classic anime like Sailor Moon and chocked full of 90s nostalgia including Tamagotchi, boy bands, and flip phones, this animated sensation is a love letter to tween girls around the world.

Where to watch: Disney+



Bridgerton Season 2

Season one of Bridgerton swept the world off its feet with its regal costumes, luxurious sets, and classic “will-they-wont-they” leads. Yet Netflix’s most intriguing choice was to update this classical genre with a diverse cast in a Regency setting. This year, there’s a new story and new leads, as Daphne Bridgerton’s reputable yet blunt brother Anthony (Jonathan Bailey), decides he must find himself a wife worthy of his standards. He finds himself toe-to-toe with the sharp-tongued, elegant heiress Kathani “Kate” Sharma (Simone Ashley), who seems to be the only one capable of matching his sharp tongue and pride, so much to the point that neither can admit their fondness for each other. Having a South Asian lady lead for this blockbuster drama already has us excited! A familiar formula with enough refreshing twists and an austere production, Bridgerton finds itself once again on the top of the list this year.

Where to watch: Netflix



Drive My Car

This introspective thinkpiece is a cinematic adaptation of the famed Haruki Murakami’s short story. We follow Yusuke Kafuku (Hitoshi Nishijima), a veteran theater actor and recent widow, who hires the young Misaki Watari (Tōko Miura) to be his driver after suffering from glaucoma. This film isn’t so much about what happens but rather what’s talked about between characters, as this slow-burn drama dives deep into human connection, regret and self-acceptance. This film was nominated for multiple Oscars, taking home Best International Feature Film. The conversations between these characters feel so real yet poetic that it’s hard to not completely engross yourself in their perspectives.

Where to watch: HBO Max and select theaters



After Yang

A more somber and quiet sci-fi entry on this list, After Yang questions what true connection is. In a dystopian future where clones and robots are commonplace, we follow a family in grief after their beloved andriod, Yang (Justin H. Min), malfunctions. Originally bought by the father, Jake (Collin Farrell), to teach their adopted Chinese daughter Mika about her culture, Jake realizes how distant he and his family have become. In this thoughtful character study of a dead robot, After Yang explores mortality, memory, identity, and what love is beyond living.

Where to watch: Hulu, fubo TV, Amazon Prime, Showtime



Our Flag Means Death

This swashbuckling black comedy is filled to the brim with murder, violence, and…a satirical take on toxic masculinity and colonialism? Our favorite Kiwi, Taika Waititi, puts pirates back on the map without the Disney-colored glasses. The pampered Stede Bonnet (Rhys Darby) leaves his aristocratic life for piracy, immediately finding himself ill-prepared. Crossing paths with the bloody Blackbeard (played by Taiki Waititi himself), Captain Bonnet is surprised to find the notorious pirate disillusioned with his career, striking an unexpected bond beyond just companions. This series has a diverse cast that perhaps more accurately reflects the colonial Atlantic setting, and a new LGBTQ favorite with our main characters. There is a perfect balance of witty writing, hilarious hi-jinks, and gritty action with just enough nuance for emotion in this romantic historical comedy.

Where to watch: HBO Max, Youtube TV



Sasha Braverman
Social Media Coordinator&
Racism Is Contagious by ADMERASIA – a platform that provides consolidated, impactful tools to combat the spread of hate crimes against the Asian American community. Visit https://racismiscontagious.com/ to learn more.
ADMERASIA’s winning spot, INVISIBLE, shows why it is time to tell better stories about Asian Americans. Take the pledge. Visit www.threeinfive.com to know more.


Beautifully Complex:
Representation in Asian America

Photo credit – Edvun Kun


For Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, L’Oréal invited ADMERASIA for a discussion panel on beauty. There, our Vice President of Strategic Planning, Selina Guo, and Cultural Content Director, XiaoHwa Ng, presented the complexity of visual representation within the Asian American community. Here’s what they had to say:


When Simu Liu posted on Weibo, a popular Chinese social media site, about the groundbreaking film Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings, “This whole movie is about celebrating Chinese culture,” many Asian Americans agreed. However, Chinese netizens responded with backlash as they felt that this comment was unnecessary and alienating towards Chinese who were a majority in their own country. Despite sharing the same identity, the experiences of the majority and minority do not share the same narratives.

Simu Liu’s Weibo post promoting Shang-Chi “This whole movie is about celebrating Chinese culture.”


This dichotomy between these two populations can be seen through how we define and practice cultural pride. In Asia, cultural pride is celebrated at times of economic, political, and social progress – something they can hold up as an achievement to the rest of the world. While in the U.S., cultural pride is maintained by traditions, preserving and sharing our languages, our food, and our stories.

Asian Americans are an incredibly diverse group, made up of many different ethnicities, narratives, and experiences. 51% of Asian American millennials are U.S. born, 17% are either biracial or multiracial, and 39% of newlywed Asian Americans marry someone outside their race.

Even within the same ethnicity and generation, you will still see nuances based on when you arrived in the U.S. or if you were born here. 1st Gen usually reflects the mindset of Asia, maintaining close ties with family, speaking English as a second language, and consuming the same media from abroad. Americans born in the U.S. usually default to English, are 2nd gen with immigrant parents, or 3rd or 4th gen with no close relatives abroad.


Digging deep into our roots and often holding on to traditions, especially moments of joy that may be shared with our loved ones, is what it means to be Asian American. But it’s not simply about keeping traditions stagnant. “Not vintage values, but vintage style.” Maintain your traditions while making them your own. Asian Americans are in constant metamorphosis, and they demand to be seen and heard.


Hollywood, where 35% of media representations of Asian Americans portray at least one stereotype, Asian Americans make up less than 6% of speaking roles and only 3.4% of films have an AAPI lead or co-lead. When it comes to Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, the situation is considerably worse. 39% of the 1,300 popular Hollywood films had no AAPI characters at all but this number jumped to 94.2% when looking at Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander characters only.


And if you belong to a marginalized community, or find yourself a minority in your minority, the chances of seeing yourself only shrink further. Less than 1% of visuals depict transgender, non-binary or gender fluid Asian Americans. Less than 1% feature women with “larger” bodies. Less than 2% feature those with disabilities. 

Usually what we see is slim, light-skin, delicate bodies that are either exoticized as the cold Dragon Lady, the silent femme fatale, or the timid princess stereotypes. People don’t feel reflected in these images, especially Asians themselves.


When it comes to luxury brands such as makeup and beauty industries, the dichotomy between Asian and Asian American beauty standards manifests differently. Asian Immigrants, especially from East Asian countries, prefer natural-looking makeup while American-born Asians prefer fuller makeup that enhances facial features e.g., more defined contour, eyebrows, eyeliners, etc.​

Beauty standards vary between different ethnicities and cultural backgrounds, with no unifying view on the ideal skin tone, facial feature, or perceptions of cosmetic surgery. ​While East Asians tend to criticize the existing Asian portrayals in media as being stereotypical, South Asians, Southeast Asians, and biracial Asians tend to be less critical on this subject. ​In their minds, underrepresentation is a bigger problem than misrepresentation.

So how should brands answer this call to show more diversity and authenticity when it comes to visual representation? What our research shows that in these shared definitions of beauty, people value the following: authenticity, confidence, and body diversity.


Thankfully, for brands, strides have already been made. LIVE TINTED is a makeup brand founded by Asian-Indian American Deepica Mutyala for “every shade in-between” and focuses on underrepresented people in beauty. There’s also NEIWAI​, an Asian lingerie & loungewear brand advocating for body positivity and the mental comfort of self-love and self-expression. Hennesy X.O created an original docu-series that tells the diverse experiences of Asian American luminaries, and how food and beverage are a medium for passing along cultural heritage with families.​

So what should we be doing to properly represent our community? Recognizing Asian Americans as a highly diverse group and reflecting it in Asian American portrayals in communications. Tell authentic, relatable, and inspiring Asian American stories.​ Respect and celebrate their diverse beauty perspectives.​ Very importantly, bring the awareness into action, even if just a small step forward.


Selina Guo
Vice President of Strategic Planner&
XiaoHwa Ng
Director of Cultural Content&
Racism Is Contagious by ADMERASIA – a platform that provides consolidated, impactful tools to combat the spread of hate crimes against the Asian American community. Visit https://racismiscontagious.com/ to learn more. ADMERASIA’s winning spot, INVISIBLE, shows why it is time to tell better stories about Asian Americans. Take the pledge. Visit https://threeinfive.com/ to know more.

ADMERASIA & Getty Images & Asian American Visual Storytelling


This Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we are proud to announce that ADMERASIA has collaborated with Getty Images, a preeminent global visual content creator and marketplace, to release image galleries and guidelines aimed to educate and empower brands on their journeys to genuinely visualize the Asian American community.  

Why Addressing Misrepresentation and Underrepresentation Matters  

Asian Americans are the fastest-growing demographic in the U.S., with 22 million people crafting the story of America. Yet, this population continues to be underrepresented and misrepresented in visual media. Many ethnicities inside the Asian American demographic find themselves underrepresented. For instance, though the Filipinx population comprises 19% of Asian Americans, it is only represented in 2% of most popular visuals featuring Asian people. Visuals in media and advertising campaigns often reflect stereotypes and reinforce the “model-minority” myth.  


Less than 2% of Asian Americans are seen doing outdoor activities. Instead they are seen usually studying, which perpetuates the model minority myth.


The Cost of These Disparities and Discrepancies is High.  

Trust and loyalty in these markets have remained elusive. According to a Morning Consult survey, “Roughly 3 in 5 (62%) Asian Americans said they ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ see people who look like they do in advertising materials.” That perspective is higher than Hispanic Americans (41%) and Black Americans (32%). 

The ongoing crisis of hate crimes and violent attacks targeting Asian Americans, fueled by anti-Asian sentiment, has added urgency to addressing this issue. Stop AAPI Hate, an organization that tracks hate incidents targeting Asian American Pacific Islander populations since the beginning of the pandemic, has recorded an upward trend in incident reports, with 4,632 in 2020 and 6,273 in 2021. 


Only 4% of visuals show Asian Americans doing creative hobbies.


ADMERASIA Steps Forward. 

ADMERASIA recognizes that much of this anti-Asian sentiment is embedded in the media and advertising industry’s portrayal of Asian Americans. As two entities that strive to create lasting connections between brands and consumers, this collaboration with Getty Images works to inspire brands, agencies, and creatives to make inclusive visual choices by fueling selection of imagery which is all at once powerful, reflective, and authentic in its depictions of the entire Asian American spectrum—a demographic segment comprised of 20+ ethnicities, each with their own nuanced experiences, perspectives, behaviors, and aspirations. 

“Brands and agencies often lack guidance and education on visuals that are genuine to the communities they are aiming to portray, which negatively impacts the way in which Asian Americans are represented. Oftentimes, they do not know where to begin or what tools are available to them. We joined this collaboration to fill this void. These guidelines are a starting point for discussion, to educate and explore respectful and authentic storytelling that speaks to the truth of Asian America. ADMERASIA has decades of experience working to build these connections and further these relationships because it comes from our own deep-rooted identity.” — XiaoHwa Sydney Ng, Cultural Content Director 


Less than 11% visual spotlight Asian Americans seniors.


The Collaboration is Live!  

Getty Images has curated four image galleries and downloadable visual guidelines. 

The visual guidelines created in this collaboration will include current data reflecting the Asian American visual landscape, its juxtaposition against the reality of who Asian Americans are, and recommendations on how to build better visual inclusivity. 

Pioneering the Future by Capturing the Past 

This is just the first step in our relationship with Getty Images. Our future goal is to inspire Asian American photographers and capture Asian America through their lens. Imagine — our history recorded in real-time. 

For more information, please visit https://custom.gettyimages.com/asianamericans/p/1 or contact Selina Guo, Vice President of Strategy, ADMERASIA. 


Selina Guo
Director of Strategy&
Racism Is Contagious by ADMERASIA – a platform that provides consolidated, impactful tools to combat the spread of hate crimes against the Asian American community. Visit https://racismiscontagious.com/ to learn more.
ADMERASIA’s winning spot, INVISIBLE, shows why it is time to tell better stories about Asian Americans. Take the pledge. Visit www.threeinfive.com to know more.