Jan-Dirk Bouw has directed various documentaries dealing with LGBT subjects, for which he has been awarded in film festivals across the world. For over 10 years, he has been involved in scriptwriting and co-direction for various shorts (independent, charity and commercials) in the UK and the Netherlands.
Of his 2013 short I LOVE HOOLIGANS, he says: The central figure’s dilemma and the theme of the film inspired me to present myself with the following challenge: how to visualise this hooligan’s vulnerable side in such a way that we feel empathy with him and even begin to love him.
I LOVE HOOLIGANS Director’s Statement
Hooliganism and homosexuality obviously don’t go together well. Why a gay man would want to be part of such a hostile and unsafe environment like football is something that outsiders have difficulty understanding.
It has become clear to me now that excitement and aggression provide an unparalleled adrenaline rush that can hardly be found anywhere outside the world of football. My central figure takes this to the point where essential values such as self-worth, love and identity are sacrificed for this rush.
Many homosexuals are familiar with such inner struggles. As I am.
Almost all homosexuals experience periods of doubt in their lives about being open about their sexual orientation. Some struggle their entire life with their hidden homosexual identity or the aftermath of this secrecy.
Having a secret identity is not exclusive to homosexuals, but it is an issue I’ve come across quite often. Split lives, and individuals who, as a result, live precariously in the margins of society fascinate me.
Another fascinating aspect of this tale is the obsession with a passion. My central figure defines his own identity largely as being a hooligan and chooses to ignore the more personal and vulnerable aspects of his emotional life. I find it confronting to see how many people, just like him, give themselves over to a world of appearances, chasing careers, materialism and status.
The starting point of this production was not just making a film about the hooligans or homosexuals, even though I think it is relevant to put homosexuality and football on the agenda with the documentary. What strikes me is that the combination football/homosexuality remains such a controversial issue as well as a popular theme in the media. At the slightest hint that a player might be gay, a media frenzy erupts. Still, hardly any documentaries of films have been made the deal with this issue.
The central figure’s dilemma and the theme of the film inspired me to present myself with the following challenge: how to visualise this hooligan’s vulnerable side in such a way that we feel empathy with him and even begin to love him.
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