Named one of Out Magazine’s “Out 100,” Filmmaker Magazine's "25 New Faces of Independent Film," and recently a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow, PJ Raval is an award-winning filmmaker whose credits include TRINIDAD (Winner Best Documentary Cleveland International Film Festival 2009, Showtime, LOGO), the highly charged & not-safe-for-work CHRISTEENE video collection (praised by the Hollywood Reporter as "...something you wish you could desperately un-see."), and BEFORE YOU KNOW IT (PBS) his latest documentary following the lives of three gay senior men as they face the challenges of life and love in their “golden years” (SXSW 2013, Winner Best Documentary Chicago LGBT Film Festival). Slant Magazine hailed BEFORE YOU KNOW IT as an “…exemplary example of a documentary that successfully puts human faces on wider issues..." indieWIRE described the film as “…a crucial new addition to the LGBT doc canon.”

Also an award-winning cinematographer, Raval’s work has earned him awards such as the ASC Charles B. Lang Jr. Heritage Award as well as the Haskell Wexler Award for Best Cinematography. Raval’s work includes the 2009 Academy Award-nominated & Sundance Grand Jury Award winner TROUBLE THE WATER as well as the Independent Spirit Award-nominated ROOM. He recently shot LOVE & AIR SEX directed by Bryan Poyser (SXSW 2013) which is currently in theaters as well as PRIMATE CINEMA: APES AS FAMILY the first film created for a chimpanzee audience (Sundance 2013, Berlinale).

In his spare time Raval likes to try and take small naps and pretend he knows ballet.

PJ Raval is more recently known as an award-winning filmmaker than he is an ex-scientist, ex-vegetarian, born on tax day.

Named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s ‘25 new faces of independent film 2006,' Out Magazine’s ’100 OUT 2010,' and a Guggenheim Fellow in 2015, PJ discovered film and video after working with photography and media installation art.

PJ recently completed BEFORE YOU KNOW IT his latest feature documentary following the lives of three gay senior men (SXSW world premiere & "Buzz Screening", Edinburgh International Film Festival). Slant Magazine hailed BEFORE YOU KNOW IT as a "Exemplary...a documentary that successfully puts human faces on wider issues..." indieWIRE described the film as “…a crucial new addition to the LGBT doc canon.” BEFORE YOU KNOW IT recently won the "Best Documentary Jury Award" at the Reeling Chicago Gay and Lesbian Film Festival as well as the "Audience Award" at  both the POLARI Austin LGBT Film Festival and Montreal's image + nation 26 Film Festival. BEFORE YOU KNOW was released theatrically in select cities in the US as well as several international territories. The documentary is currently slated to broadcast premiere on PBS American Refreamed as the season finale.

In addition, PJ also continues to collaborate on a collection of highly charged and not-safe-for-work videos with performer and "provocateur” Paul Soileau (a.k.a. CHRISTEENE) under the name “Three dollar Cinema”. Their work has screened at SXSW (2010 - 2013) and various underground, above ground, and art venues internationally. Banned from YOUTUBE and FACEBOOK alike, their collaborative efforts is best summed up by the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER as “…something you desperately wish you could un-see…” Their collaborative work was nominated for an Austin Critics Table Award in 2010 and in 2012 PJ and Paul were invited to the CentralTrak Artist Residency Program, University of Texas Dallas to create a new video series based off of stories from the Old Testament.

PJ’s previous film TRINIDAD uncovers Trinidad, Colorado’s transformation from Wild West outpost to “sex change capital of the world” and follows three influential transgender women who may steer the rural ranching town toward becoming the “transsexual mecca”. Called “a must see” by Ellen Huang (GLAAD), TRINIDAD won the Cleveland International Film Festival "Documentary Jury Award" and was broadcast on SHOWTIME as well as MTV’s LOGO network.

PJ’s short films have won awards such as "Best Narrative Short" at the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Int’l Film Festival, "Best Screenplay" at the Cinematexas Int’l Film Festival, the "Betty Nowlin Award for Excellence in Filmmaking", and the "Director’s Visionary Award" at the Santa Cruz Film Festival. PJ’s short film LEAD ROLE: FATHER was nominated for the "Golden Reel Award" at the VC Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival and named the “programmer’s pick”. In 2004 PJ’s body of film work screened at the Artists’ Television Access (ATA) in San Francisco sponsored by the Alliance of Emerging Creative Artists (AECA), and then again in 2006 as part of the Austin Gay and Lesbian Film Festival’s Filmmaker Series.

PJ is currently developing a feature fiction narrative with acclaimed screenwriter and playwright Prince Gomolvilas (Big Hunk o' Burnin' Love, The Theory of Everything, stage adaptation of Mysterious Skin, based on the novel by Scott Heim.) PJ has also been making a name for himself as a music video director for various bands and musical performers (Wild Beasts, The Sword, Mistress Stephanie & Her Melodic Cat) and recently directed a segment called "Rantings" part of the 2011 remake of Richard Linklater’s indie classic SLACKER.

Also an award-winning cinematographer, PJ’s work has been showcased at both Sundance and Cannes and earned him awards such as the ASC Charles B. Lang Jr. Heritage Award as well as the Haskell Wexler Award for Best Cinematography. PJ has been featured in AMERICAN CINEMATOGRAPHER and shot the 2009 Academy Award nominated and 2008 Sundance Film Festival Documentary Grand Jury Award Winner TROUBLE THE WATER produced/directed by FAHRENHEIT 9/11 producers Tia Lessin and Carl Deal. Manohla Dargis with THE NEW YORK TIMES called the film “SUPERB… One of the best American documentaries in recent memory.” PJ’s feature cinematography credits also include, the 2006 Independent Spirit Award nominated ROOM (Sundance, Cannes), the Los Angeles Film Festival Narrative Feature Award winner GRETCHEN, and SUNSET STORIES (SXSW 2012, VC Los Angeles Asian American Film Festival Centerpiece) directed by Silas Howard (BY HOOK OR BY CROOK) & Ernesto Foronda (BETTER LUCK TOMORROW).

PJ also shot FOURPLAY, four true tales about sexual intimacy, his second feature with acclaimed director Kyle Henry, produced by Jason Wehling and executive produced by Michael Stipe and Jim McKay. One of the stories, FOURPLAY TAMPA, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival as well as the Sundance Film Festival in 2011 and FOURPLAY SAN FRANCISCO was awarded “Best Narrative Short” at the 2011 NewFest Film Festival. PJ also shot HABIBI RASAK KHARBAN a story of forbidden love and the first fiction feature set in Gaza in over 15 years directed by Susan Youssef (WINNER FIPRESCI PRIZE BEST FEATURE, WINNER BEST ARAB FEATURE Dubai International Film Festival 2011, Official Selection 2011 Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival) as well as PRIMATE CINEMA: APES AS FAMILY the first film created for a chimpanzee audience directed by Rachel Mayeri (Sundance 2013, Berlianle 2013). Most recently PJ lensed Bryan Poyser's highly anticipated feature LOVE & AIR SEX currently in theaters (SXSW 2013). Variety praised PJ's cinematography by writing, "d.p. PJ Raval makes everything else look every bit as professional as a studio comedy, while capturing the flavor of Austin’s most popular bars, restaurants and hangouts."

In his spare time PJ likes to try and take small naps and pretend he knows ballet.

 

Films by PJ Raval

TRINIDAD: Transgender Frontier (K - 12 version)

This K - 12 Broadcast version contains no graphic imagery and is suitable for younger and general audiences.

DVD contains a 1 hour lecture and 2 power point presentations by Dr. Marci Bowers, as well as Dr. Bowers's 1 stage vaginoplasty surgery video.

Edifying and intimate, TRINIDAD acquaints viewers with three extraordinary transwomen whose paths cross in an unlikely setting—the unassuming town of Trinidad, Colorado. Against the backdrop of the town’s history of transgender surgery, TRINIDAD invokes the passions and gender politics of these three individuals as they search for a place of empowerment and belonging. 

TRINIDAD: Transgender Frontier

Please note TRINIDAD is available in two different versions, the original "theatrical" version as seen in theaters as well as the K-12 "broadcast version" which contains no graphic imagery and is suitable for younger and general audiences: http://www.newday.com/film/trinidad-transgender-frontier-k-12-version

DVD contains a 1 hour lecture and 2 power point presentations by Dr. Marci Bowers, as well as Dr. Bowers's 1 stage vaginoplasty surgery video.

Edifying and intimate, TRINIDAD acquaints viewers with three extraordinary transwomen whose paths cross in an unlikely setting—the unassuming town of Trinidad, Colorado. Against the backdrop of the town’s history of transgender surgery, TRINIDAD invokes the passions and gender politics of these three individuals as they search for a place of empowerment and belonging. 

BEFORE YOU KNOW IT

The subjects of BEFORE YOU KNOW IT are no ordinary senior citizens. They are go-go booted bar-hoppers, love struck activists, troublemaking baton twirlers, late night Internet cruisers, seasoned renegades and bold adventurers. They are also among the estimated 2.4 million lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans over the age of 55 in the United States, many of whom face heightened levels of discrimination, neglect and exclusion. But BEFORE YOU KNOW IT is not a film about cold statistics and gloomy realities, it’s a film about generational trailblazers who have surmounted prejudice and defied expectation to form communities of strength, renewal and camaraderie. An affirmation of life and human resilience told with humor and candor, BEFORE YOU KNOW IT confirms that you are never too old to reshape society.