Fil-Am filmmaker documents lives of gay senior citizens

By Yong Chavez, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Jul 26 2013 03:10 PM | Updated as of Jul 26 2013 11:10 PM

HOLLYWOOD - An award-winning Filipino American filmmaker is behind a critically acclaimed new film that documents the lives of gay senior citizens.

One of the stand outs in the recently concluded Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, or more commonly known as Outfest, is the documentary "Before You Know It".

The film deals with the often ignored segment of the LGBT community--its senior citizens. There are an estimated 2.4 million LGBT Americans over the age of 55 but they receive less attention and help from their heterosexual counterparts.

"Before You Know It" continues to screen in various film festivals all over the US. The movie was directed by Filipino American film maker PJ Raval. Raval followed the lives of three men who face different issues in their golden years.

"Ageing does not discriminate. It happens to everyone. So there really is this universal aspect to it," he said.

Despite the challenges they faced daily, Raval said his subjects show that life continues.

"The three characters that I'm following, they're still living life to the fullest and they're still discovering who they are and they're still figuring things out and for me that's really inspiring, because I would love to think that when I'm 80 I'm still evolving and changing," he explained.

Raval is also an award-winning cinematographer whose credits include the 2009 Oscar nominated HBO documentary, "Trouble the Water". He attended the academy awards with its cast and crew.

"That film was an incredible experience. It talks about a story unfolding in front of you and you having to react to it very quickly. If you're going to make a film that life is unfolding you need to let life unfold a little bit and along with that it means you'll never know what's going to happen. You always have to get ready for something to happen," he added.

Raval was born in New Jersey and grew up in California. His parents are from Ilocos and he said he hopes to one day also make a Filipino film.