Filipino-American filmmaker PJ Raval (Call her Ganda, Come & Take It, Before You Know It, Trinidad) is a well-known name in Austin, with five of his films (features, shorts, music videos) nominated for awards at the SXSW Film & Television Festival since 2010, according to IMDb. I have attended the SXSW festivals in Austin since the 90s (music) and then started attending the film festival. His latest film, Who We Become, is a documentary described in a statement from ARRAY Releasing: “follows three young Filipino women grappling with an emerging global pandemic while forging unexpected connections with their families. Discovering themselves in the process. The film is a self-documented time capsule for turbulent times. Who We Become captures the unbreakable bond between Filipino family and community.”
Katrina De Vera is credited as a writer with filmmaker Raval. The all-Asian-American crewed film had its world premiere earlier this year at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific International Film Festival and is also an official selection of the Austin Asian American Film Festival. The three film participants are Lauren Yap, Jenah Maravilla, and Monica Silverio, with filming done in Austin, Houston, and Brownsville. The crew interviewed them, and the families were actively participating and expressing their views. Their accounts are great to hear from the varied generations of families as they provide some details about the history, culture, and society. These details give the viewer an understanding of the similarities and differences the families share as their American children learn to be more active in their communities.
The film has an Austin connection that includes the marches in 2020 and footage of the activism during the pandemic. Watching the movie brought many memories of how the communities shut down; the graduates were celebrated with vehicles driving by their homes, and so much more. When there are close-knit families who are used to gathering as a tradition, this was also noted to be something that families wanted to continue to do during the pandemic.
This documentary provides both in-person and Zoom interviews, with plenty of open-air activities captured by the three participants (Yap, Maravilla, and Silverio), also credited as cinematographers on IMDb.
To learn more about the filmmaker and his work, visit https://unraval.com/about/
Runtime: 1 hour 12 minutes
The film streams exclusively on Netflix on Friday, December 1.
Source: ARRAY Releasing