For years it seemed as if an entire generation of gay men didn't exist: seniors. With the blight of the AIDS epidemic decimating the population, gay men over 50 were a small population, often invisible or marginalized from view by mainstream AND gay media. But, in fact, many men of retirement age do exist, and filmmaker PJ Raval has attempted to rectify that oversight with his latest documentary project, Before You Know It, while also facing his own mortality.
In the film, Raval follows three main characters, retirees that live in Galveston, Texas, Harlem, New York, and Portland, Oregon, as well as Florida. This Sunday, June 23, the film screens in New York City at the Film Society of Lincoln Center as part of its Art of the Reel series.
When the film screened during SXSW in Austin earlier this year, we caught up with him and asked him why he decided to turn his camera on old folks, askin him how Stonewall altered Harlem.
"Society in general marginalizes the senior community," Raval explained. "The general community is very youth obsessed, but I think even more so in the gay community... There has been a lot of support in terms of making sure LGBT youth have some kind of structure in place, and rightfully so, but there also needs to be a structure in place for the aging community. Both ends of the spectrum are vulnerable." (Read the full interview here.)
Watch the trailer for Before You Know It below: