'In This Family' and the power of sharing your truth

As Drama del Rosario recounts his experiences as a young gay teen in the Philippines in In This Family, it's his hope that filmmakers and audiences understand why personal documentaries are a necessity.

The documentary retells Drama’s own journey from 10 years ago, after a teacher outs him to his traditional, conservative parents.

“You know, it’s just sharing your truth. Sharing the things you’ve gone through in your life. The intersectionality of all the problems that you’ve gone through in your life and sharing it from your own perspective because you are the only person who can probably tell that story the best,” he said in a Rappler Talk interview

After winning the 2020 PBS Short Film Festival Juried Prize and being able to screen his work online, Drama is glad viewers in the Philippines are able to watch his work.

He's since received messages from students – of the same school where he was outed – thanking him for creating the film and expressing how it meant a lot to them because 10 years later, they're going through the same struggles.

“Current students from that same school have reached out to me saying that the same teachers have been homophobic to them – the same teachers who were homophobic to me and my friends 10 years ago,” he said. 

Drama said hearing from a young audience proves the need for these kinds of stories – where the storyteller is the center of the story – to be told and heard. Making personal and vulnerable documentaries that bare his soul is how he communicates and shares his truth, in hopes others can connect with it. 

"Ten years after me coming out. You know it just made so much sense to make this documentary and to just do a flashback about how much my parents and my own family has grown in learning acceptance and all of those things. And it all started with me remembering that I had those recordings in my hard drive," he said.

In the documentary, Drama uses real recordings – from family arguments almost a decade ago – to show just how difficult coming out can be for queer children and their families.

“It’s almost a necessity to turn the camera on myself and film my own story because no one else is gonna tell that story in the right way,” said the 25-year-old. – Rappler.com