Pamela Tom is an Emmy award-winning writer, director, and producer whose films have explored subjects ranging from art and religion to the Chinese American experience, social justice, and nuclear war. After meeting the Chinese American artist and Disney legend Tyrus Wong, Pamela worked tirelessly for over 17 years to bring his life to the screen. The result is TYRUS, Tom's multi award-winning film that premiered at the Telluride Film Festival, was distributed theatrically worldwide, and had its national broadcast on the Emmy-nominated season of PBS's American Masters. Pamela has toured extensively with the film and has been a featured speaker at the Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, and at numerous universities including Yale, Tufts University, University of Hull, Loyola Marymount University, and UMass Boston. She spoke on college campuses throughout the Deep South as part of the highly selective Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers.
Tom’s other work includes Finding Home: A Foster Youth Story, about four teens as they prepare for life outside the foster care system, which premiered on PBS, and won a 2019 Los Angeles Emmy and an LA Press Club Award. Her award-winning short film, Two Lies, about the conflict between a Chinese American teenage girl and her mother who undergoes plastic surgery to make her eyes rounder, debuted at the Sundance Film Festival and New Directors/New Films. She directed legendary actor Sidney Poitier in a short to promote the Showtime film, Mandela and DeKlerk, and a feature-length documentary about Mr. Poitier's life in commemoration of his 90th birthday. Tom has filmed on location in Africa, the Caribbean, and Asia.
Tom is a recipient of a Walt Disney Writing Fellowship, Dorothy Arzner Award for Outstanding Woman Director, and Asian Pacific Women’s Network Award. She is an outspoken advocate for diversity in the film industry and served as the Director of Diversity at Film Independent, where she ran Project:Involve, a diversity mentoring program that nurtures the careers of young BIPOC filmmakers, including director Jon Chu (Crazy Rich Asians) and editor Harry Yoon (Minari).
Tom has taught documentary filmmaking at the University of California at Santa Barbara and Loyola Marymount University. She is a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and Film Fatales, an international organization of feature and television women directors. She received her BA from Brown University and MFA from UCLA's School of Theater, Film, and Television.