Submit your film to festival

When School Broke out of Prison


This is a story of a 100-year old school in a village in Eastern Finland. For the last two years the school was known as Halmeniemi Free Village School and it was run on a voluntary basis.

This film gives voices to small school activists defended the right of local children to have a school close to home. It is also a story of the Finnish "talkoo" tradition, working for a common course on a voluntary basis. The story of Halmeniemi Free Village School had lots of national and also some international coverage in media. Rhe village was also visited by a group of Polish scout girls who wanted to share the experience of working together for a good cause.

During the school fight, a new pedagogical model, the pedagogy of joy, for small schools with a single teacher was developed by Juha Juurikkala who has a long working career as a rector at a school with hundreds of pupils. The Finnish Ministry of Education was willing to fund a 3-year research project in co-operation with the University of Jyväskylä.

Halmeniemi Free Village School closed its doors in May 2007.

This documentary film was financed by the Finnish Cultural Foundation / Southern Savo foundation. The film was also a part of the officiaol Finland centenary celebration (Suomi 100).

Length: 59 minutes. Finnish with English subtitles.

Premiere: 29.4.2017 in Mikkeli, Finland. Thereafter screenings at national and international film festivals.


English subtitle: 


Information for the Audience: 


Facebook page:

Achieval home page for the school in Finnish: http.//

Screenings / Awards: 

Happy Film Festival, Finland (with Q&A)

Ficit Trujillo, Peru (official selection)

FICOCC Puerto de la Cruz Venezuela 2017 (award for recognition)

Worldwide Women´s Film Festival, USA 2018 (official selection)

Impact Awards, California, USA 2018 (award of recognition)

Lanus International Film Festival, Argentina 2018 (best international documentary feature film)

5th Nordic Conference for Rural Research 2018, Vingsted, Denmark

Near Nazareth Festival, Israel 2018 (semi-finalist)

Lokaali - national event ofr Finnish rural development people, 2018, Savonlinna, Finland

Kulttuuritalo Tempo 2018 screening (part of Mediaali 20 yrs events, Finland

Docs Without Borders film festival USA 2018 / official selection


Directed by: 
Päivi Kapiainen-Heiskanen
Produced by: 
Päivi Kapiainen-Heiskanen
Music by: 
Lahjomattomat band
Cinematography by: 
Hamid Al-Sammarraee, Heta Heiskanen, Matti Markkanen, Matias Meier, Päivi Kapiainen-Heiskanen
Film Editing by: 
Harri Räisä
Production Management: 
Päivi Kapiainen-Heiskanen
Release Date: 
Saturday, April 29, 2017
Official sites: 
Mäntyharju, Finland
Total votes: 824

Convert your film to DCP

the most widely utilized format by US Exhibitors.