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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 is not a film about cold statistics and gloomy realities, its a film about generational trailblazers who have surmounted prejudice and defied expectation to form communities of strength, renewal and camaraderie whether these communities be affable senior living facilities, lively activist enclaves or wacky queer bars brimming with glittered trinkets and colorful drag queens. Dennis is a gentle-hearted widower in his 70s who begins exploring his sexual identity and fondness for dressing in womens clothing under the name Dee. Ty is an impassioned LGBT activist who hears nothing but wedding bells once gay marriage passes in New York. Robert The Mouth is a feisty bar owner who presses on when his neighborhood institution comes under threat. Born before the Civil Rights era, these men have witnessed unbelievable change in their lifetimes, from the Stonewall Riots and gay liberation, to the HIV/AIDS pandemic and Queer Nation, to gay marriage and Lady Gaga, and have lived to become part of an unprecedented out elder generation. BEFORE focuses on the lives of these three gay seniors, but reminds us that while LGBT elders face a specific set of issues, aging and its challenges are universal. An affirmation of life and human resilience told with a refreshing humor and candor, BEFORE confirms that you are never too old to reshape society.
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“A crucial new addition to the LGBT doc canon”
"BEFORE YOU KNOW IT is an important, entertaining, and original documentary about LGBTQ people (and communities) as they face the uncertainties of aging.
Funny, heartfelt, and at times a bit sad, BEFORE YOU KNOW IT will be of interest to multiple viewers, from sociologists and gerontologists to everyday queers."
-Harry M. Benshoff - Professor of Gender & Sexuality Studies - University of North Texas
"BEFORE YOU KNOW IT is a chronicle of the challenges facing an aging portion of the population, but it doubles as something more universal: a means of cutting through isolation and societal expectation, and finding a stronger self on the other side."
"College educators in diverse fields can use this compassionate film to teach social history and as a tool to promote dialog about essential human issues, including aging, sexuality, and discrimination. It can also be utilized by organizations that are committed to building community and collaborating for social change."
-Vicky Westover, Director of the University of Arizona Hanson Film Institute
"Engrossing...Provides sufficient contrasts, surprises, epiphanies and warm moments to keep it rolling engagingly along...Resists foundering in pathos or kitsch; its subjects are too complex and resistant, having survived decades of change, to be reduced to victims or examples."
"Young college students were exposed to a group often ignored in LGBT studies...PJ's time in the classroom offered students insight into the process and techniques of documentary filmmaking -- an incredible opportunity for any film student or budding student filmmaker!"
-Stephen Low - LGBT Studies Film Series - Cornell University
“Exemplary…a documentary that successfully puts human faces on wider issues…”
WINNER Best Documentary Jury Award Reeling Chicago Gay & Lesbian Film Festival
WINNER Audience Award Image+Nation Montreal Gay & Lesbian Film Festival
WINNER Scott Dinger Audience Award Austin Gay & Lesbian Film Festival
WINNER Best Documentary Jury Award Dallas Asian Film Festival
Nominated for Best Film Austin Film Critics Association
SXSW "Buzz Screening"
SXSW World Premiere 2013
San Francisco International Film Festival
Edinburgh International Film Festival
Tribeca Film Institute
Austin Film Society
PJ Raval 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? and Out Magazine’s ’100 OUT 2010?, 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 “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 is currently in theaters in select cities with several international territories to follow. 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.
As civil rights for LGBT and other minority groups are won violent backlashes have been known to increase. Today LGBT people are far more likely than any other minority group in the United States to be victimized by violent hate crimes. PUZZLES tells the story of a hate crime in a gay bar called Puzzles Lounge in New Bedford, MA when a teenager entered and brutally attacked its patrons. As a result two different worlds collide, a homophobic hate crime offender and his victims. Puzzles explores the correlation between American economic desperation and homophobia, intolerance, and, ultimately, violence.
TRINIDAD - Theatrical Version
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.
TOP SPIN follows the lives of Ariel Hsing, Michael Landers, and Lily Zhang - three teenagers competing their way through the world of competitive table tennis. These young athletes face unusual challenges coming of age in a niche sport, and reveal the sacrifice and passion it takes to pursue Olympic-sized dreams.
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