Joan's Boys

Joan is a committed, warm-hearted social worker and psychotherapist who works with derailed teenagers. Most of her 'kids' are boys from ethnic minorities who ran into trouble with the police for reasons varying from skipping class and shoplifting to robberies and abuse.
In the documentary 'Joan's Boys' we see her efforts to help two of these kids -15 year old twins Alaa and Adil from a Moroccan family- to get back on track. The twins drop out from school, play violent video games all day and fight among each other about who can hold the PlayStation controller. In the midst of the heat they accidentally hit their mother, who goes knock-out on the floor. The boys are placed in custody.
Can Joan save her boys by playing on their conscience? Or is her 'soft' approach deemed to fail, as one of her personal friends thinks? And what about Joan herself? Does her work with these kids replace her own unfulfilled child-wish?
In the end we hear Alaa speak about his future. He will always remember Joan and what she said to him, he says, because she was the first...

  • Catherine van Campen
    Flying Anne
  • Catherine van Campen
  • Joost Seelen
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature
  • Genres:
    Social Justice, Human Rights
  • Runtime:
    1 hour
  • Completion Date:
    December 1, 2013
  • Production Budget:
    100,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Netherlands Film Festival
    Utrecht, Netherlands
    December 1, 2013
    World Premiere
  • Peace On Earth Film Festival 2015
    Chicago, USA
    March 19, 2015
    International Premiere
  • (In)Justice for All Film Festival
    Chicago, USA
    April 9, 2015
  • International Film Festival for Women, Social Issues, and Zero Discrimination
    Jakarta, Indonesia
    April 2, 2015
    Gold Award
  • Painted Birds Film Festival (Festival de los Pajaros Pintados)
    Madrid, Spain
    April 30, 2015
    Spanish Premiere
  • Islantilla Cineforum Festival under the Moonlight (Festival bajo la Luna)
    Islantilla, Spain
    July 7, 2015
  • Columbia Gorge International Film Festival
    Vancouver, USA
    August 6, 2015
  • RIIFF Rhode Island International Film Festival
    Providence (RI), USA
    August 6, 2015
  • Awareness Film Festival
    Los Angeles (CA), USA
    September 10, 2015
  • PERSO Perugia Social Film Festival
    Perugia, Italy
    September 18, 2015
    Italian Premiere
  • Youth and teenager film festival (Festival de Cine: Infancia y Adolescencia) “Ciudad de Bogotá”
    Bogota, Colombia
    October 1, 2015
    Latin American Premiere
  • Arlington International Film Festival
    Arlington (MA), USA
    October 15, 2015
  • ICAPFF International Crime and Punishment Film Festival
    Istanbul, Turkey
    October 16, 2015
    Turkish premiere
  • Festival de Cine y Vídeo “Kayche’ Tejidos Visuales
    Merida, Mexico
    October 3, 2015
Director Biography - Catherine van Campen

Catherine van Campen (1970) is a documentary filmmaker from the Netherlands.
She started her career as an independent radio maker for Dutch public radio.
Her documentary films have won awards at Hot Docs, Visions du Réel, Lunafest and others and were screened at numerous festivals worldwide.
"Eternal Mash" (2007)
"Drona and I" (2009)
"Flying Anne" (2010)
"Painful Painting" (2011)
"Joan's Boys" (2013)

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Director Statement

Joan's Boys is a film about the interaction between Joan and 'her boys'; about how their often completely separate worlds can connect. The film is not just a double portrait of client and counselor; it is also about 'looking' and 'being looked at' and how we so easily judge worlds foreign to us.