Guest Artist Spotlight: PJ Raval

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PJ Raval is a filmmaker, cinematographer, University of Texas at Austin alum and an Assistant Professor in the Radio-Television-Film Department at The University of Texas at Austin. He also currently serves as the President of the Board of Directors for the OUTsider Queer Transmedia Arts Festival for which he is a founder of, and has been named one of Filmmaker Magazines “25 new faces of independent film 2006” and Out Magazine’s “100 OUT 2010.”

Raval is excited by new work that makes him think, feel, inspires him, is a reflection of the human condition and helps him learn something new about himself.

“I tend to choose my projects from ideas that I can’t shake,” shared Raval. “These ideas come from everyday life experiences, watching the news, listening to stories of others’ experiences – just living in the world. These ideas percolate and start to evolve and it becomes clear the idea needs to be further explored in an art form, so you jump off the cliff and commit [and] let the idea start to take on a life of its own without expectations on where it will lead you.”

Raval is currently working on “several documentaries as well as some new CHRISTEENE music videos!” He recently completed Before You Know It, a feature documentary that premiered at SXSW and follows the lives of three gay senior men. According to the film’s website, the three men are “go-go booted bar-hoppers, love struck activists, troublemaking baton twirlers, late night Internet cruisers, seasoned renegades and bold adventurers.”

When asked what advice he would give his younger self if he could, Raval said “be active, be bold, be patient, be humble, be open to experiences [and] be vulnerable. What you are making is part of a larger body of work, so don’t rush through it. Respect the work. Enjoy each experience, learn from it and move on to the next.”

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