Kapwa, Texas is not a place but a state of mind. Directed by Austin-based documentary filmmaker PJ Raval, Kapwa Texas chronicles the trials and tribulation faced by three Filipino-American women in their 20s in Texas during the COVID-19 pandemic in the months leading up to the contentious 2020 U.S. presidential election. The documentary takes its name and themes from “Kapwa,” which “is a recognition of a shared identity, an inner self, shared with others,” per Filipino psychologist Virgilio Enriquez. To reflect this, Raval—who is also Filipino-American—shows how his three documentary subjects not just survive the pandemic, the turbulence of the election, and rising anti-Asian racism but evolve in their political thinking and social activism through the help and support of their family and/or the community they have each created for themselves. Part of doing this requires each woman to engage in difficult conversations with their family about their political, cultural, and generational differences, resulting in some hard truths that must be accepted if they are to move forward as a family. Raval shaped and edited the documentary using footage mostly shot by his documentary subjects, Austin’s Lauren Yapp, Houston’s Jenah Maravilla, and Brownsville’s Monica Silverio. Kapwa Texas will screen at 7:45 p.m. June 22 at the AFS Cinema during the Austin Asian American Film Festival. Austin-based documentary filmmaker PJ Raval (pictured, left) previously directed Call Her Ganda, Before You Know It, and Trinidad. Lauren Yapp (pictured, center) is an editor and a producer with the Austin-based Arts+Labor. Houston-based poet and activist Jenah Maravilla (pictured, right) is a member of the Filipinx Artists of Houston.
Aired: June 14, 2023.