01 Oct Q&A WITH PJ RAVAL, DIRECTOR OF LEAD ROLE: FATHER
MICHAEL CHEN: PJ, YOUR FILM SEEMED VERY INTIMATE AND PERSONAL. HOW MUCH OF IT WAS BASED ON THE RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR FATHER?
PJ RAVAL: I’d say it’s based more on the emotions surrounding our relationship rather Than actual events. Initially I knew I wanted to make a lm based on my relationship with my father though I didn’t know what it was going to be about—so I decided to make a lm about that in certain ways. Halfway through writing my script I got a phone call from my father asking me to visit. That visit heavily influenced the making of the film.
CHEN: HAS YOUR FATHER AND THE REST OF YOUR FAMILY SEEN THE FILM? HOW DID THEY REACT?
RAVAL: Yes, my family has seen it. They reacted well, though I honestly didn’t know what to expect. In the past I’d always been more private with them when it came to my work, so I think they were more moved by the fact that I was trying to share something personal with them.
CHEN: HOW’S YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR FATHER TODAY?
RAVAL: Great. We definitely see more eye to eye these days. I think part of it is we’ve grown together and are more willing to break from our past parent-child relationship and enter a father-son relationship on more of an equal footing.It’s more about present and future and not about the hang-ups in the past. Plus, he can’t ground me anymore.
CHEN: THE END OF THE FILM WAS A STUNNER. DID IT AT ALL RESEMBLE YOUR OWN COMING OUT?
RAVAL: No! I don’t think I could ever find a way to actually push my father; it’s the whole familial piety thing you know? It makes me uneasy just to think about it! But these are the reasons why I chose that exact ending. I wanted something really extreme and revealing just to play with those notions.
CHEN: YOU’VE GOT MAJOR ROOTS IN SAN DIEGO. DO TELL! AND WHY THE HECK WOULD YOU END UP IN TEXAS???
RAVAL: I originally moved to San Diego to attend UCSD for my undergraduate studies.Crazy as it sounds I was a double major in visual arts and biology. At the time my work was much more focused on photography and media installation. After graduating I hung around San Diego working odd jobs here and there (read: climbing an 80-foot tower to videotape horse racing or dressing up as an alien for an “X-les” promo spot, etc.) while continuing to explore photography. Eventually I decided to apply to graduate school and thought film would be an interesting medium to explore since I had made a couple black and white experimental narratives and really liked the process. Several friends suggested I apply to University of Texas Austin. There was
something about a strong liberal independent arts community thriving in the center of the lone star state that really intrigued and inspired me. Still does.
Pacific Arts Movement presents Asian American Pacific Islander and Asian international media arts for San Diego residents and visitors in order to inspire, entertain and support a more compassionate society.