Pamela Yates

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Pamela Yates is an American documentary filmmaker and human rights activist. She has directed films about war crimes, racism, and genocide in the United States and Latin America, often with emphasis on the legal responses.


Yates was born and raised in the Appalachian coal-mining region of Pennsylvania. She ran away from home at age 15 to live in New York City.[1]

She earned a Bachelor's degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1976.[2] She earned a degree in filmmaking from New York University. Yates was a co-founder of Skylight Pictures, a documentary production company based in New York City.


Her 2006 film, State of Fear: The Truth about Terrorism, about the findings of Truth and Reconciliation Commission concerning the internal conflict in Peru, was translated into 44 languages and broadcast in 157 countries.

The Reckoning: The Battle for the International Criminal Court, released in 2009, is about the work of the International Criminal Court. In 2010, Yates was nominated for two Emmys for it – Best Documentary Film and Outstanding Investigative Journalism in a Long Form Documentary. The Reckoning was nominated for a Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.

Her 2011 film, Granito: How to Nail a Dictator, is a sequel to When the Mountains Tremble. In it, Yates uses her archives to provide evidence for a war crimes tribunal set in Spain (using the concept of universal jurisdiction) in its efforts to prosecute the genocide in Guatemala.[3][4] The film was an official selection included in the Premiere Documentary Section of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Yates received a Guggenheim Fellowship for her work on the film.


Four of Yates' films — When the Mountains Tremble, Poverty Outlaw, Takeover, and Teatro! — were nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, and When The Mountains Tremble won the award in 1984.

Her film, State of Fear: The Truth about Terrorism, won the 2006 Overseas Press Club Award for "Best Reporting in Any Medium on Latin America".[5]

Selected filmography[edit]


External links[edit]