Documentary Feature Filmed by Alumnus Receives Oscar Nod

"Trouble the Water," the documentary feature film shot by Radio-TV-Film alumnus P.J. Raval (MFA '04), has been nominated for an Oscar.

One of five nominated in the documentary feature category, "Trouble the Water" tells the story of an aspiring rap artist and her streetwise husband trying to survive the deadly floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina. The film won the grand jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival last year and is nominated for an Independent Spirit Award.

The film was directed and produced by Carl Deal and Tia Lessin, and executive produced by David Alcaro, Joslyn Barnes, Danny Glover and Todd Olson. Raval was director of photography, along with New Orleans resident Kimberly Rivers Reeves who turned her new hi 8 camcorder on herself, her husband Scott and her Ninth Ward neighbors trapped in the city.

An award-winning cinematographer, Raval has won the ASC Charles B. Lang Jr. Heritage Award, as well as the Haskell Wexler Award for Best Cinematography. He also has been featured in American Cinematographer.

A director as well, Raval was named one of Filmmaker Magazine's "25 new faces of independent film" in 2006 and his 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.

Raval recently completed "Trinidad," a documentary that uncovers Trinidad, Colorado's transformation from Wild West outpost to "sex change capital of the world." He is completing a narrative feature script called "boys without cars" with screenwriter Gregg Rounds.

The best documentary award will be presented at the Academy Awards ceremony Feb. 22.

Learn more about "Trouble the Water."