Pat’s professional career – first as a as a photojournalist and then as an independent filmmaker – has focused on the struggle for human rights and social justice in Central America. In addition to production work for other people, she has produced and directed four hour long documentaries. “Under the Gun: Democracy in Guatemala” (1988, with Robert Richter) examines the difficult transition from military to civilian rule in Guatemala in the mid 1980s. “If the Mango Tree Could Speak” (1993) portrays ten teenagers growing up in the midst of war in Guatemala and El Salvador. “Dirty Secrets: Jennifer, Everardo and the CIA” (1998) follows US lawyer Jennifer Harbury as she uncovers CIA complicity in human rights violations while searching for her husband Everardo, a Guatemala rebel leader. “Goodbye Baby” (2005) explores the controversy over adoptions from Guatemala.
Her current project is the interactive documentary website “When We Were Young/There Was A War.” It continues the stories of the teens portrayed in “If the Mango Tree Could Speak” as it explores the Central America civil wars and their aftermaths, as well as the connection between the people and history of the US and Central America.
Her titles have been broadcast in the U.S. (PBS), Latin America (Discovery) and European stations; won numerous awards at festivals; and have been used extensively by community organizations, solidarity groups, libraries, schools, colleges and universities. She belongs to New Day Films, a filmmaker’s cooperative of social issue documentary producers. She received her BFA from the California College of Arts and Crafts in 1977 and her MA in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 1990. She is fluent in Spanish.