Bio

PAMELA A. THOMAS, BFMM Executive Director. Founder, CEO


Pamela A. Thomas, is originator & producer (with Bestor Cram, Northern Light Productions) of the award-winning documentary, MIDNIGHT RAMBLE: Oscar Micheaux and the Story of Race Movies for PBS documentary series, The American Experience. Recognized as a critical lynch-pin bridging the informational gap in Black cinema history, MIDNIGHT RAMBLE was ten years in the making from concept to completion.

Ms. Thomas' interest in the research, study, and promotion of race movies and early Black American cinema history have had her on the lecture circuit for years. Exposing many to the significance and impact of race movies in this country, engagements have included among others: Harvard University; Howard University; University of Toledo; Boston University; Boston College; Stanford University; University of California, Berkley; the State University of New York (S.U.N.Y.), Purchase; Roxbury Community College, Boston; the Smithsonian Institute National Museum of American History and the Hong Kong Film Center in China. An exhibition history is available on this website under the About/History page.

Following undergraduate studies at the University of Cincinnati in film & media, Thomas moved to Boston, where while studying at Harvard & MIT (Community Fellows Fellowship), she began her passionate interest & research into race movie filmmaker, Oscar Micheaux, considered the 'Dean of early Black American film'. The end result being MIDNIGHT RAMBLE. While at Harvard, she created Blacks in Black & White & Color, a symposium on Black Americans in media. Just prior to the MIDNIGHT RAMBLE national broadcast, Thomas began lecturing on race movies & early Black American film history. Through these lectures/presentations Thomas traveled the country also visiting Hong Kong where MR was screened at the Hong Kong Cultural Center for the first annual Black American Film Festival. Following her return to the States, she moved to San Francisco. While teaching at Mills College in Oakland, CA, she founded the RAW STOCK, Celebrating Cinema film festival (1996-1999), an annual education-based film festival focused primarily on filmmakers of color locally, nationally & globally.

Additionally, Ms. Thomas founded BLACK FOLKS MAKE MOVIES, promoting empowerment and education through Black American film. Utilizing multiple venues, BFMM is committed to the examination and reclamation of Black film and it's history through images portrayed in film and television via education, the promotion of past & current independent filmmakers of color and, the preservation of contributions by Black and other artists of color. Currently featuring, The FOUNDATION: A Presentation; MASTER CLASS I-VI, A series of five day Race Movie Intensive Workshops (from 1-6 wks); BAC (Black American Cinema) a monthly library film screening program; & The SCREENING ROOM. Currently developing additional programming, Dinner and A Movie; The Quarterly Midnight Ramble, next is FADE2BLACK (F2B) Film Festival: A RETROSPECTIVE - Celebrating Black American Cinema 1910 -THE PRESENT. A Premiere is scheduled here in Cincinnati, October 12-14, 2017, F2B is an education-based U.C. co-sponsored Special Event which also travels to various cities, on odd years while occurring here in Cincinnati during even years - again celebrating Black American film and the history of same.

Eventually covering five days with over 50 films, discussions, panels, and more, F2B is a three part film festival celebrating the cultural cinematic contributions of Black Americans in film via Black Film Memorabilia/poster arts exhibit as well as  live musical performances of scores - jazz & classical - commissioned for several of Micheaux's films. The F2B Premiere  scheduled for Oct. 12-14, 2017, and coincides  with the 20+ year anniversary of MIDNIGHT RAMBLE's initial national broadcast. FADE2BLACK defines and conceptualizes the impact Black American Cinema has on our culture, our history and American Cinema.

Ms. Thomas' awards include: a Ciné Golden Eagle; the Chris Award; National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) Prized Pieces Award, Runner-Up; NBPC Community Choice Award for Best Documentary; NBPC Community Choice Award for Best Producer; NEFV Foundation Gold Apple Award; and a Silver Hugo.