A Gifted Friend : My Shanghai

My life is enriched by my gifted and creative friends.  Friends who year after year work to refine their craft, whether their craft is writing, photography, painting, or graphic design.  Many times recognition is slow to come by.  So I have decided to occasionally share with you some of my friends’ stories and projects in the hope that you will then share them with your relatives and friends.

Today I dedicate this blog to my friend P.H. Wells.

Pam is the creator of a venture called First Straw Films.  I met Pam almost a decade ago when I was introduced to the Writers in the Rafters, a group of remarkable women I am fortunate to share my creative journey with.  Pam and I are both writers, but while I write in the non fiction literary genre, she is a script writer.   Pam is not only successful in her own right, but she is a true mentor to her friends.  She is generous with her time and honest with her critique.  She is witty and daring, intelligent and compassionate.  I hope you enjoy seeing a little of her creation.

Not so long ago Pam got a new camera and a new passion was born.  In what seemed an impossibly short time, she learned a new craft and started her own film company. I am proud to share her first film project with you today.

The Associate Producer on Pam’s film, Joan MacBeth, is also my good friend and a member of the Writers in the Rafters.  She is an award winning script writer and a ray of sunshine in my life.  Her husband Ron, Cinematographer for the film, is a very good man who like Pam and Joan, values his friends.  I am very excited to share this project with all of you, as excited as if the project was my own.  These are people I love.

Enjoy and if you can make a donation to help Pam reach her goal, please do!  Otherwise I hope you are the richer for having caught a glimpse of things to come…..


On Memorial Day, 2011, Virginia McCutcheon was featured on the front page of the San Luis Obispo Tribune. The headline read: “POW of the Japanese.” She became an instant local celebrity as one of the last survivors of Lunghwa Camp in China during World War II.

Virginia McCutcheon • © 2013 First Straw Films
Virginia McCutcheon • © 2013 First Straw Films

The camp experience is at the heart of the documentary, but Shanghai, “the Paris of the Orient,” is where it all began. In interviews over several days in the past year, Virginia, now age 93, opens up about herself, her family, her loves and losses, more than she ever thought she could.



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