American Masters: Tyrus
Premieres nationwide Friday, September 8 at 9/8c on PBS (check local listings)
in honor of the 75th anniversary of Bambi
Writer, Director and Producer
Pamela Tom is a writer, director and producer whose work includes documentary and narrative film and television. Tom served as a production executive at KCET and was the post-production producer on the BBC/PBS national series WW2: Behind Closed Doors: Stalin, The Nazis, and the West and the network producer on Wired Science, a PBS national primetime series produced in partnership with Wired magazine. She was also the field producer on the PBS pilot Becoming the Buddha in Los Angeles.
Tom’s award-winning narrative short film Two Lies, about a divorced Chinese woman who has plastic surgery to make her eyes rounder, screened at hundreds of film festivals including the Sundance Film Festival, New Directors/New Films, the Smithsonian Institution, and aired on numerous PBS stations, including KCET, THIRTEEN and WGBH. Tom is the recipient of the Walt Disney Writing Fellowship, the Dorothy Arzner Award for Outstanding Woman Director, the Edna and Yu Shan Han Award, and the Asian Pacific Women’s Network Award. She has taught documentary film at UC Santa Barbara and Loyola Marymount University as well as film directing at UCLA Extension. She served as the Director of Diversity at Film Independent, where she was a leading spokesperson on issues related to diversity in the film industry. In 2017, she directed a documentary celebrating the life and career of Hollywood legend Sidney Poitier for Bahamas national television. She is currently directing a documentary about foster youth for PBS SoCal. She received her B.A. with Honors from Brown University and an M.F.A. in film from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television.
Gwen Wynne is a director, producer, screenwriter and stage director. Wynne is CEO of The Eos World Fund, a new initiative to champion emerging and established innovative filmmakers, telling the untold and taboo stories often marginalized in cultures around the world. Wynne, a Directors Guild of America member, partnered with Pamela Tom to produce the award-winning documentary feature, American Masters: Tyrus. “We wanted Tyrus Wong’s artistic legacy to popular American cinema and culture trumpeted to the world,” said Wynne, who also directed, produced and wrote film festival favorite Wild About Harry (a.k.a. American Primitive), a narrative feature set in 1973 about gay couples as parents, influenced by her own childhood. American Primitive was cited by Tom Gregory in The Huffington Post as “an indie gem… the ‘why’ that drove early activists like Harvey Milk and the Stonewall demonstrators to demand equality…”
Presently, Wynne is developing and writing a long-form drama for episodic television with a companion documentary series: MOST SECRET: Agent 0017. The series reveals the embryonic beginnings and long hidden history of Winston Churchill’s secret army, called S.O.E. (Special Operations, Executive). The story specifically focuses on the women and men led by Agent 0017, a famous Arctic explorer, who was the very first commando, secret agent and an unknown World War II hero.
Wynne’s roots are in theater, working for Arena Stage and Circle in the Square on Broadway, later becoming Artistic Director of the The No-Neck Monsters Theatre Company, which she co-founded with Helen Patton in Washington, D.C. Given special recognition by Hillary Clinton for her company’s drama program for children, Wynne’s funders included the National Endowment for the Arts, Rockefeller Foundation, and Comic Relief. At the “No-Necks,” Wynne directed several productions, including one of the first rap musicals, Sanctuary, D.C. by Ralph Brown and composed by Scott Davenport Richards. The musical captured the life of runaways, homeless youth and the epidemic of crack and murder in the nation’s capitol and became an underdog hit in Washington, D.C. The production was nominated for three Helen Hayes Awards, including Best New Musical and Best Actress in A Musical. Wynne graduated from Brown University and holds an M.F.A. from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts.
Tamara Khalaf is a renowned designer and 20-year veteran of the Walt Disney Studios Animation Research Library. As a producer on Tyrus, she has forged key alliances with the Walt Disney Company in both creative and financial worlds, including the acquisition of a grant from the charitable arm of Disney. She has also donated her extensive graphic design skills to help promote the film in the way of marketing, social media, advertising and fundraising. Khalaf has designed exhibitions at Disney Orlando MGM Park, Disneyland Paris, Disneyland Hong Kong and Tokyo Disney Animation galleries to market both the Disney and Pixar Studio Films. She has co-curated the exhibition Drawn From Life: Art of the Disney Animation Studio, which is currently traveling around China. Additionally, Khalaf has designed museum exhibition catalogues and more than five books for Disney Editions, most recently, Dali & Disney: DESTINO: The Story, Artwork, and Friendship Behind the Legendary Film (October 2015). Her production credits include documentaries, independent films and a short film, Shelly Figg, for the American Film Institute (AFI) Director Workshop for Women. Khalaf has also participated in two, 168-hour film festivals as a producer. She received her B.A. with Honors from the University of California at Santa Barbara and is currently working on her Master’s Degree in Theology and Film.
Don Hahn is the producer of Beauty and the Beast, the first animated film nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, and the international box office phenomenon The Lion King. His other credits include Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the hit comedy Emperor’s New Groove, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and the Oscar-nominated stop-motion film Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie. He was a founder of Disneynature as executive producer of the epic documentaries Earth, Oceans, African Cats and Chimpanzee. He executive produced Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie, as well as the live-action version of Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson. Hahn also serves on the Board of PBS SoCal and is the author of many books on animation and art.
Robert Louie is Vice President, Clinical Medical Pharmacy at ICORE Healthcare at Magellan Health Services. He is president of the Louie Family Foundation, a non-profit foundation dedicated to supporting the Chinese American community.
David Louie was born and raised in Los Angeles. Since 1987, he has worked in sales and leasing in the Los Angeles office of CB Richard Ellis, Inc. Louie’s experience includes city planning and operations, as well as accounting and business management.
Linda Barry (not to be confused with cartoonist Lynda Barry) is an Emmy Award-winning producer and writer with an extensive background in theater, radio, cable and broadcast television and film. Barry was born in New York City and raised in Yokohama and Okinawa, Japan, before her family settled in San Diego. She got her start in the entertainment business working in public relations for the Broadway touring companies of Annie, A Chorus Line and Dancin.’ This was followed by stints in radio and television advertising, continuity, sales management, research, community affairs, network affiliations and administration. She spent four years as story analyst for the Sundance Institute’s Screenwriters Labs working under the late Lynn Auerbach, Associate Director of the Feature Film Program. Producing credits include narrative and documentary short films and the feature romantic comedy Mango Kiss. In 2007, she won an Emmy for Fishbowl which was broadcast on PBS series Independent Lens. Fishbowl was shot entirely in Hawaii and is unprecedented in its use of local Hawaiian children and Hawaiian Pidgin dialogue. She graduated with an English/Art History degree from Old Dominion University in Virginia, attended the Producers Program at UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television and is a 2004 Fellow of Film Independent’s Producers Lab.
American Masters Series Executive Producer
For more than two decades, award-winning filmmaker Michael Kantor has created outstanding arts programs for television. He joined American Masters as the series’ executive producer in April 2014 during its 28th season on PBS, and founded its theatrical imprint American Masters Pictures in January 2016. American Masters Pictures was represented by three films at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival: Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You, Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise and Richard Linklater – dream is destiny.
Prior to joining American Masters, his PBS documentary series Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle (2013), hosted by Liev Schreiber, was nominated for an Emmy Award. Random House published the companion book. Kantor’s Peabody Award-winning film Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy (2013) aired as part of the Great Performances series on PBS. Narrated by Joel Grey, it included performances by Matthew Broderick, Kelli O’Hara, David Hyde Pierce, Marc Shaiman and many other Broadway talents. In 2012, Kantor produced The Thomashefskys: Music and Memories of a Life in the Yiddish Theater with Michael Tilson Thomas, which aired on PBS and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy. Kantor served as executive producer of the special Give Me the Banjo, hosted by Steve Martin, and created Make ’Em Laugh: The Funny Business of America (2009), the critically acclaimed six-part documentary series hosted by Billy Crystal. His script for episode four, When I’m Bad, I’m Better: The Groundbreakers, co-authored with Laurence Maslon, was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award. His landmark six-part series Broadway: The American Musical was hosted by Julie Andrews and honored with the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Nonfiction Series in 2005. That same year, he created three hours of DVD extras for 20th Century Fox’s 40th anniversary release of The Sound of Music.
Kantor wrote, directed and produced the award-winning profile American Masters: Quincy Jones: In the Pocket. With Stephen Ives, he co-directed Cornerstone: An Interstate Adventure for HBO, and produced The West (executive producer Ken Burns). His 20 years of work in documentaries include projects as varied as EGG: the arts show, Coney Island, The Donner Party, Margaret Sanger and Ric Burns’ New York series. As a writer, Kantor created Lullaby of Broadway: Opening Night on 42nd Street, co-authored the companion books to Broadway (Bulfinch) and Make ’Em Laugh (Grand Central Publishing) and has published numerous essays and articles. He is president of Almo Inc., a company that distributes the American Film Theatre series, which includes Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance (starring Katharine Hepburn), Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh (Lee Marvin) and Chekhov’s Three Sisters (Laurence Olivier) among its titles. Kantor has served as a Tony nominator and taught documentary filmmaking at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. He was born in New Haven, Connecticut, and lives in Scarsdale, New York.