Art Films news.

White Rage and Back Towards Light are now part of Yle's new Classic Documentaries collection that collects together some of the nationally significant documentaries of the past decades.

The first 15 documentary films were published 31.5.2021 and the collection will have more documentaries to come in Fall 2021.

The films are now available for streaming on Yle Areena website (available only in Finland region).


This week, Josh Lucas visited both CBS’s THE TALK TV show and DREW BARRYMORE’s show about MURDEROURS TRANCE (The Guardian Angel), which will be released digitally in North America on February 9 on all platforms and where Lucas will star in one of the lead roles (Björn Schow-Nielsen).
Both of the above talk shows are major national TV shows in North America. CBS's THE TALK Show features a panel of well-known entertainment personalities discussing current events, pop culture, family, celebrity and trending topics of the day. The daily one-hour series is hosted by Sharon Osbourne, Sheryl Underwood, Carrie Ann Inaba, Elaine Welteroth and Amanda Kloots. The Talk has earned 11 Daytime Emmy Awards. CBS's The Drew Barrymore Show debuted on Autumn 2020 and its name is carried by the host, who is a world-famous Golden Globe-winning actress.

Murderous Trance aka The Guardian Angel movie will have its digital release in the North America on 9th of February in all platforms. MVD Entertainment Group has acquired North American rights to Arto Halonen’s feature thriller MURDEROUS TRANCE. To celebrate, they’ve revealed a brand new trailer for the film.

The team at Moonstone Entertainment is thrilled to be continuing our distribution relationship with MVD with MURDEROUS TRANCE,” said Ernst Etchie Stroh at Moonstone Entertainment. “We’re excited to  finally present this edge-of-your seat mystery to film fans in 2021.”

During this time while more people are at safely quarantining and seeking out a variety of home entertainment options, I’m looking forward  to premiering this exciting new thriller on VOD, Blu-ray, and DVD from  Moonstone Entertainment after the new year,” said Eric D. Wilkinson,  Director of Home Video Sales and Acquisitions at MVD Entertainment  Group. The deal was negotiated by Eric D. Wilkinson on behalf of MVD  Entertainment Group and Ernst Etchie Stroh of Moonstone Entertainment on  behalf of the filmmakers.

The film will be available on DVD, Blu-Ray, and to rent and own on  North American digital HD internet, cable, and satellite platforms through MVD Entertainment Group on February 9, 2021.


Shadow of the holy book has been chosen as one of the best documentaries of all time by the DocsDF festival in Mexico


 LaSombraDelLibroSagrado TW


The annual film festival celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, and to celebrate the event the festival has chosen one film from each year for its official Docs 15 años selection. Shadow of the holy book, a documentary feature film written by Arto Halonen and Kevin Frazier and directed by Arto Halonen, was chosen as the best film of the year 2008. In 2015 Shadow of the holy book was also chosen as one of the best films of the decade by the DocsDF festival.

Shadow of the Holy Book is an exploration of Turkmenistan’s serious violations of human rights and freedom of speech, and of large-scale international corporations' support of the Turkmen dictatorship. By publishing translations of the Ruhnama propaganda book the companies are granted access to multi-million dollar business deals with the oil-and-gas-rich Turkmenistan.

Shadow of the Holy Book is one of the most widely distributed Finnish documentary films internationally, and it has been released in cinemas and on television in many countries. The movie has been shown in 120 film festivals it has won various awards. Shadow of the Holy Book is one of only three feature-length Finnish documentary films that have been nominated for the best European documentary film award by the European Film Academy.

DocsDF is the most renowned documentary film festival in Mexico and one of the leading documentary film festivals globally. This year the festival takes place in Mexico City from 8th to 25th of October. There will be a celebratory screening for the film in the Jardín Pushkin open-air theatre on Sunday 11th of October at 20.30, and in La Casa Del Cine on Wednesday 14th of October at 15.15.

Finland is strongly represented in the Docs 15 años selection, as the documentary film Mother’s Wish, directed by the Finnish Joonas Berghäll, was chosen as the best documentary film of the year 2015.


 978885667512HIG 10c135caa95705d6964697d93915f9f3

The publishing house Piemme has released the novel with the title L'Angelo senza volto (The angel without a face). Piemme is one of the leading publishers in Italy in fiction for children and adults. Piemme's other famous international authors include Michael Connelly and Khaled Hosseini, among others.

A representative for Piemme, the senior editor of foreign fiction Giulio De Biase has praised the book:

“I was mesmerized by the sparse and, yes, hypnotic language, which painted with very few strokes such vivid feelings and characters. Everyone, Anders and Marie in particular, as well as the very special “villains”, come alive in the strongest way, and the icy and still atmosphere of this post-war Denmark where the echoes of the past are still so powerful is amazingly well done.”

The novel The Guardian Angel, written by Kevin Frazier and Arto Halonen, is a story about a man who uses hypnosis to manipulate another man into committing a bank robbery and murdering two innocent bank clerks. The story is based on real events. The novel has previously been published in Finland, Denmark, Portugal and Serbia.

The novel The Guardian Angel was published at the same time with a similarly titled movie, directed by Arto Halonen. The international co-production premiered internationally at the renowned Warsaw Film Festival in 2018, and its distribution rights have been sold into 60 countries. The Guardian Angel was awarded for Best Feature Film in the Gold Movie Awards, an independent movie festival held in London on the 9th of January. Actor Josh Lucas was also awarded Best Actor for his role in the film.


Murderous Trance aka the Guardian Angel has been awarded for Best Feature Film in the Gold Movie Awards main gala, held in London on the 9th of January. Actor Josh Lucas was also awarded Best Actor for his role in the film. 

Other nominees for Best Feature Film were Schemers (by David McLean), I Wrote This For You (by Jason Zavaleta), Before The Dawn (by Jay Holben), My Name is Sara (by Steven Orittand Ray Meets Helen (by Alan Rudolph)

Now the fourth annual Gold Movie Awardrewards the best films and filmmakers every month. Among these, the very best are nominated and rewarded in the annual main gala. The mission of the Gold Movie Awards is to support and bring forth the independent film industry. 

The director and scriptwriter of the film, ArtoHalonen, and actor PilouAsbækwere both nominated – Halonen for the Best Director and Asbæk for Best Actor. 

Murderous Trance premiered in Finland in 2018 and internationally at the Warsaw Film Festival in the fall of 2018. The distribution rights of the film have been sold to in a total of 60 countries, including the USA, Spain, France, Poland, Japan, China and all of the Nordic Countries. 

Murderous Trance bases on the true story of a remarkable series of hypnosis crimes that took place in Denmark in 1950s. The awarded Josh Lucas plays the part of Bjørn Schouw Nielsen, a man who was sentenced 17 years in prison for taking part in the hypnosis crimes. 

Among the cast members arethe international stars PilouAsbæk (Game of ThronesBorgen), Josh Lucas (Ford v Ferrari, A Beautiful Mind, Sweet Home Alabama) and RadeŠerbedžija(Downton Abbey, Eyes Wide Shut) and Sara Soulié (Nymphs, Other Girls) .

Gold Movie Awards event

Gold Movie Awards winners

Murderous Trance trailer

Director Arto Halonen returns to the Santa Barbara International Film Festival on his second consecutive year, to premiere his dramatized documentary Back Towards Light (Takaisin valoon) in the US as it competes in the Social Justice Competition.

Back Towards Light premiered internationally at the Manaki Brothers Film Festival in North Macedonia in 2019.  In Finland - the film’s country of origin - Back Towards Light attracted huge attention and was one of the most watched documentary films on YLE, the Finnish Broadcasting Company. A book of the same name was also published to accompany the film.

Back Towards Light shows us the journey of a 25-year-old Finnish woman who becomes a victim of human trafficking and goes through an unimaginable journey to stay alive, find safety and maintain her sense of self.

The film takes a look into the dark world of human trafficking while telling the story of a survivor bringing her life back together. Marissa believes that one can find a way back into light after a traumatic experience, if only one doesn’t hold on to the anger and resentment.  

The film mixes both documentary and fiction narrative styles. The interviews heard in the film are authentic and the situations described in them are dramatized by actors Stella Kylä-Liuhala, Kiumars Zarei, Henri Tuominen, Nora Löfving-Lihtonen, Kerli Kyllönen and Pihla Maalismaa. The film was produced by Arto Halonen from Art Films Production and Timo Lahtinen from the Danish production company Smile Entertainment.

Marissa Jaakola – the woman whose journey the films focuses on – was unreasonably sentenced to foreclosure because of the huge amount of debt that had accumulated due to the crimes committed against her. Thanks to private donors, settlements and money arranged with the aid of the film and Art Films Production, in fall 2019, she was relieved of the debts, totaling $ 70.000 by then, and will now attend the festival as well.

In 2019 Halonen attended the SBIFF with his feature film Murderous Trance, competing in the Nordic Cinema Competition. The film is based on the true story of a remarkable series of hypnosis crimes that took place in Denmark in the 1950s.  Among the cast members are actors Pilou Asbæk (Game of Thrones, Ghost in the Shell, Overlord), Josh Lucas (Ford v Ferrari, A Beautiful Mind, Sweet Home Alabama), Rade Šerbedžija (Downton Abbey, Eyes Wide Shut) and Sara Soulié (Nymphs, Other Girls).

 In the US the film was released in theaters in November 2019 and is distributed by MyCinema.

Murderous Trance was just recently awarded at the Gold Movie Awards in London. The film received the award for Best Feature Film and Josh Lucas was awarded as Best Actor for his role in it. Among the nominees were also Arto Halonen for Best Director and Pilou Asbæk for Best Actor.


Back Towards Light - Screenings at SBIFF

Monday, January 20th – 7:40 PM, Fiesta 4

Wednesday, January 22nd – 10:00 AM, Fiesta 3

Back Towards Light - Trailer

Murderous Trance: Gold Movie Awards - Winners

MyCinema : Murderous Trance



Moonstone Entertainment announces: myCinema picks up MURDEROUS TRANCE for Nationwide  US Theatrical Release in Fall 2019. Psychological Thriller explores whether hypnosis can convince one to commit murder or other crimes.


Press release


For immediate release


The Guardian Angel written and directed by Arto Halonen, will be screening at the 34th Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF), one of the leading film festivals in the United States.

Amongst the seven chosen feature films to compete in the festival category of The Best Nordic Feature are also Land of Hope (Finland), A Moon of My Own (Sweden), In Love and War (Denmark), Let Me Fall (Iceland), Phoenix (Norway) and The Bird Catcher (Norway). The Guardian Angel premiered internationally at the esteemed Warsaw Film Festival in 2018 and the films distribution rights have been sold to 60+ countries including France, Russia, Japan, Poland and India.

Press release

Back Towards Light tells the story of Marissa, a Finnish woman who becomes a victim of human trafficking and goes through an unimaginable journey to stay alive, get to safety and maintain her sense of self. She believes that one can find a way back into the light after a traumatic experience, if only one doesn’t hold onto the anger and resentment.

The Guardian Angel written and directed by Arto Halonen, will premiere at the Warsaw International Film Festival held in Poland 12.-21.10.2018. The festival was established in 1985 and as a part the International Federation of Film Producers Associations festivals together with Cannes, Venice and Montreal; it is one of the most significant ones in the world.

Back Towards Light will be premiered as the opening film of the Finnish Rokumentti Film Festival, and arrive to wide theatrical distribution in November.

Danish actor Pilou Asbæk will receive the first Nordic Flair Award at the 30th HIFF. The award ceremony will take place at a public event organised by the HIFF and Yle. Asbæk will be seen in 2018 in Finnish director Arto Halonen’s new film.
HIFF and Finnish Film Affair will award the Danish actor Pilou Asbæk with the Nordic Flair Award on September 21st. The award serves as a recognition of Asbæk’s brave role choices and his internationally renowned career.

Arto Halonen, known for his films Princess and A Patriotic Man, is directing a Finnish-Danish-Croatian co-production The Guardian Angel starring a cast of international actors. The male lead is played by Pilou Asbæk, an internationally rising star appearing in the sixth and the up-coming seventh season of Game of Thrones, who made his breakthrough in the critically acclaimed television series Borgen. Other significant roles are portrayed by Josh Lucas, Rade Šerbedžija, Sara Soulié, Cyron Melville, Johannes Lassen and Christopher Fulford.

White Rage has been granted the Green Rose award at Jaipur International Film Festival. The criteria for the awarded film was “film that gives a global message”. White Rage, which puts school bullying and school shootings into juxtaposition, was competing in the category of Feature Documentaries.

DOKKINO, founded by Arto Halonen, receives the State Prize for Children’s Culture

The Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture has granted the State Prize for Children’s Culture to DOKKINO, which operates within DocPoint Film Festival. In its release, the ministry notes that after 15 years of diligent work DOKKINO has become the biggest documentary film event for children and youth in Europe. The festival now reaches up to 17 000 children and adolescents in 18 localities.

The Liberation of Skopje selected as the Macedonian entry for the Oscars


The Liberation of Skopje, a Macedonian-Croatian-Finnish feature film co-produced by Art Films production and Arto Halonen, has been selected as the Macedonian entry for the Oscars. The film is directed by a Croatian-born and famous Hollywood star, Rade Šerbedžija (for instance Mission Impossible II, Eyes Wide Shut and Before the Rain). Šerbedžija is directing the film with his filmmaker son Danilo Šerbedžija whose movie 72 Days (Sedamdeset I dva dana) was Croatian Oscar-nominee in 2012. Rade Šerbedžija, who is also seen in one of the leading roles of The Liberation of Skopje, will likewise star in Art Films production’s current work in progress, The Guardian Angel.

Princess Coming to Cinemas in France


Princess (2010), directed by Arto Halonen, will have theatrical distribution in France the coming autumn. The French Aramis Films obtained the rights for distribution of the film already in 2012. ”Princess is a Finnish film starring Finnish actors, yet touching people universally regardless of their culture. I believe that the French audience, too, will be moved by the exceptional humanity of the film”, states Marc-André Grynbaum, the director of distribution at Aramis Films. Princess will be screened with 40 copies in over 60 theaters around the country. In Paris, Princess opens at least in three cinemas.

Director Arto Halonen is going to be one of the main guests at HamLit, a new literature and music festival held in the city of Hamina on Saturday, 27th of August 2016. Second main guest is Riku Rantala, known for the documentary film series Docventures. The entire programme of the event is going to be published in week 33.

For more information about HamLit, go to the Facebook-page:

Press release 22.5.2016 / Updated 15.7.2016

Arto Halonen’s White Rage was awarded at Millennium Docs Against Gravity film festival in Warsaw on Saturday. Millennium Docs Against Gravity, held for the 13th time this year, is one of the most distinguished documentary film festivals in Europe, attended by over 40 000 people in 2015.

Press release


Director Arto Halonen’s White Rage, telling the story of Lauri who planned to commit a massacre at school, is continuing its international festival circulation during May and June.

Member of the Finnish Parliament, Tiina Elovaara of the Finns Party, has proposed a bill to make a legislative addition to the educational law. The bill is set to tighten the law regarding bullying at school. The aim is to alter escalated situations at schools so that instead of the one being bullied having to change schools, the bully should be transferred elsewhere. In her press release Elovaara refers to director Arto Halonen’s latest feature documentary film White Rage which deals with bullying being connected to school shootings.

Arts Promotion Centre Finland has allocated quality support for the film White Rage. On giving reason for the decision the council wrote: "An ambitiously made film describes meritoriously how violence can create violence."

Arto Halonen’s film White Rage has been selected to two important European documentary film festivals.

Rokumentti Film Festival has selected White Rage as its opening film. This will also be the film's world premiere. The screening will take place on November 11th 2015 in Joensuu and the director Arto Halonen is also present.

White Rage - website:

This is the story of Lauri, and through him the story of other victims of both school bullying and a separate childhood trauma: victims full of white rage, which may lead to school shootings and other extreme acts of violence. The film is also about our society: a society without sufficient understanding or desire to address the emergence of school violence. Lauri has proceeded on his career in psychology, become successful and reached a significant position. Yet when he was growing up he experienced extreme bullying. At two points – as a teen and again as a university student – he began to develop serious fantasies about committing mass murder. The documentary goes through Lauri's life journey; how he became a carrier of white rage and how he survived this heavy burden by recognizing it and taking to action.

The Documentary Film Festival DocsDF in Mexico City has chosen 29 best documentaries which have been screened in its 10-year history. Shadow of the Holy Book, directed by Arto Halonen is in the section of the”The best films DocsDF has screened”. The festival is the most significant documentary film festivals in Mexico and one of the leading festivals on its field. It will be organized this year on the 15th April – 24th April 2015.

Shadow of the Holy Books renowned history.