Pamela Woolford is a filmmaker, writer, and performer—three forms of a storyteller. As such she specializes in creative nonfiction stories, fiction inspired by true-life stories, and fiction inspired by the history of a people. Her work is especially concerned with the lives of black women and girls and others whose joy, history, and inner life are underexplored in American media and popular art.
In 2018 Woolford completed work on her avant-garde short Generation, which she wrote, directed, edited, sound designed, and performs in. She based the script on her short story “Just After Supper,” which was nominated for a 2018 Pushcart Prize by novelist and Pushcart Prize editor Mark Wisniewski. For Generation, Woolford is a North Beach American Film Festival Jury Award winner and an Experimental Forum Honorary Mention Award recipient for her “vision and the film’s unique contribution to cinema.”
Wynn Thomas, production designer for Hidden Figures, Cinderella Man, A Beautiful Mind, and numerous other Hollywood films, calls the Generation narrative “quite lovely and wonderful and full of rich imagery."
NPR Best Book author and 2018 NAACP Image Award nominee Marita Golden calls Generation "lovely and groundbreaking. Beautifully shot. Very evocative."
The film has been selected for a number of festivals, including FAD Festival: Film-Art-Dance on Tour, which builds K-12 and university curriculum for films it tours educational institutions with, and curates public showings as well, across the U.S. and Canada.
In addition to her honors for Generation,Woolford is a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award winner for screenwriting and a recipient of an Official Citation from the Maryland House of Delegates.
Woolford began her career writing her award-winning screenplay Emile in the early 1990s. About that time she was also publishing her poetry, profiles, interviews, and a think piece; editing film reviews; and working as an editor for Jambalaya Magazine, a cultural publication she cofounded.
Trained in modern, West African, Middle Eastern, Caribbean, and Katherine Dunham dance techniques, she became a member of Aurora Dance Company in the mid-‘90s and went on to choreograph and perform solo fusion dances. In the early 2000s she trained in acting at Studio Theatre in Washington, DC, and trained in and began performing voiceovers.
She was also by then writing a bylined column of profiles and human-interest stories for The Baltimore Sun and in 2014 ghostwrote a nonfiction book for a public figure. Author of more than 100 short stories, essays, and articles published in newspapers and journals, from Harvard University’s Transition to Poets & Writers Magazine, Woolford’s work has been translated into German for Briefe aus Amerika, selected for anthologies, and cited in many books and scholarly works, including L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema edited by Allyson Nadia Field, Jan-Christopher Horak, and Jacqueline Najuma Stewart (University of California Press, 2015) and Shaping the Future of African American Film by Monica White Ndounou (Rutgers University Press, 2014).
“Pamela’s artistry opens a window to allow us to view ourselves, our loved ones, our neighbors in those...people,” Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Edward P. Jones has written about Woolford’s fiction.
In 2016, Woolford directed film scenes for her conceived multidisciplinary memoir Meditations on a Marriage, a project which made her a 2016 Tucson Festival of Books Literary Awards finalist and shortlisted her for the 2017 Fish Publishing Short Memoir Prize. In 2017 she wrote, directed, and costarred in her scripted vlog series Truth & Story.
“I hope to tell the truth in a way that does not bow to fear,” Woolford says in her artist statement, “whether fear of my own thoughts or fear of the thoughts of others, so that I can take life's unsavory bits along with the lovely bits and lay them bare in the openness of the screen, the stage, the page. In so doing I endeavor to turn a particular space in the world into a source of communing, reaching beyond that particular to touch the lives of others.”