Pamela is a filmmaker and a writer who never forgot her joyful time in a Japanese pre-k/kindergarten. 15 years later, after graduating from UCLA with a BA in Communication Studies, she became a bilingual (Spanish) teaching assistant in a Los Angeles public school kindergarten. After earning her MFA in Film Production at UCLA, she taught undergraduate and graduate students at Loyola Marymount University (film editing, film production, and directing).
Her articles, personal essays and interviews have been published in The Los Angeles Times, Release Print, International Documentary and American Libraries Magazine. Born in Japan, Pamela spent the first decade of her life in the port city of Kobe. Her personal essay “The Truth About Crickets” appears in the anthology How Does One Dress to Buy Dragonfruit: True Stories of Expat Women in Asia (Signal 8 Press). Her short story “Soaring” received an Honorable Mention Prize in Writers Digest (2019). She is currently co-authoring, with her historian daughter Natalie McDonald, a historical-mystery novel for readers 11-and-up set in California during World War II. The main character is a girl with a camera.
Pamela’s film FUNNY LADIES: A Portrait of Women Cartoonists (Lynda Barry, Cathy Guisewite, Nicole Hollander & Dale Messick) received glowing reviews in The Los Angeles Times, Ms. Magazine, Boston Globe, and San Francisco Examiner.
WOMEN OF MYSTERY: Three Writers Who Forever Changed Detective Fiction (Sara Paretsky, Sue Grafton & Marcia Muller) inspired a groundbreaking program in public libraries across the country. Booklist declared it one of 10 “outstanding” videos from the previous five years.
Pamela and her filmmaking partner/husband UCLA film professor William McDonald’s most recent short documentaries – LIFE JACKETS (2019) and DEAD LAND/Sara Paretsky: A Reflection – can be seen (via free streaming) with links at Two inthe World.
Natalie McDonald—who was homeschooled for 7th and 8th grade—graduated from Pomona College summa cum laude in May 2019. Three of her proudest accomplishments since graduating are: (1) passing her driver’s test, (2) conducting a conversation entirely in Arabic with a Chicago Lyft driver, and (3) a thriving sourdough starter (named Stan) that produces delicious loaves of bread for her family each week. Natalie continues to love learning as much as she did in her backyard schoolhouse ten years ago, and is currently studying Arabic, French, and German. She also serves as a volunteer citizenship instructor with the International Rescue Committee. Natalie plans to pursue graduate studies in world history, with a focus on twentieth-century empire, migration, and human rights. Her academic work has been published in the Michigan Journal of History and Wittenberg University East Asian Studies Journal.