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′, PJ discovered film and video after working with photography and media installation art.
PJ’s latest film TRINIDAD (co-directed by Jay Hodges) is a feature documentary that 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 recently won the Cleveland International Film Festival Documentary Jury Award and currently can been seen on SHOWTIME as well as LOGO network this spring.
PJ’s previous 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 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.
Currently, PJ is developing a feature documentary about LGBTQ retirement communities as well as collaborating on a collection of work with performer and “drag terrorist” Paul Soileau (a.k.a. CHRISTEENE) under the name “Three dollar Cinema”. Their work has screened at SXSW and various underground, above ground, and art venues. PJ also recently completed a narrative feature script called “boys without cars” with accomplished screenwriter Gregg Rounds and has 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).
PJ is also an award-winning cinematographer. His 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 AMERICA 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 THE 2 BOBS directed by Tim McCanlies (SECONDHAND LIONS, IRON GIANT) produced by Anne Walker (DAZED AND CONFUSED, A SCANNER DARKLY). PJ is currently shooting 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.
In his spare time PJ likes to take small naps and pretend he knows ballet.