Since 2003 Mags Gavan and Joost van der Valk have been making documentaries together for TV and cinema.
They made series such as Paparazzi I (3 x 60′ for BBC, 2004) Paparazzi II (4 x 60′ for BBC, 2005) and Britain’s Ugliest Models (4 x 50′ for Channel 5, 2009), and current affairs documentaries such as Bad Blood (BBC Newsnight, 2007), Saving Africa’s Witch Children (55′ for Channel 4’s Dispatches, 2008), Return to Africa’s Witch Children (50’ for Channel 4, 2009), Wilders: Europe’s Most Dangerous Man? (60’ for BBC, 2011) and Sisters of Somalia (30’ for Al Jazeera, 2013).
Saving Africa’s Witch Children- about an on-going witch hunt against children in Nigeria- has won them the 2009 EMMY Award for Best Current Affairs, the British Academy Award (BAFTA) for Best Current Affairs Programme 2009, the Amnesty Media Award for Best Documentary 2009 and the One World Children’s Rights Award 2009.
Lately the filmmaking couple has mostly focused on feature-length documentaries. In 2009 they finished Crips: Strapped ‘n Strong (84’), about an extremely violent Crips-gang in the Netherlands. The film had official theatrical release in the Netherlands and has been selected for numerous festivals such as the Locarno Semaine de la Critique and the International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam (IDFA), where it was nominated for the DocU Award.
In 2015 their feature documentary Satudarah-One Blood- a unique insight into the secret world of an internationally operating outlaw motorcycle gang- was released. It got record viewing figures in the Netherlands and was nominated for the Dutch Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. The film had its international premiere at the Biarritz International Film Festival (FIPA).
Gavan and Van der Valk’s latest feature, Fighting for Peace (72’, 2016)- about two young boxers fighting for a better future in one of Rio’s most violent neighbourhoods- premiered at the 2016 DOK Fest in Munich.