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Welcome to our website - Poirier Films

On our website, you will find information about our production company and its activities.

It will help you better understand our mission. Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information. 


Poirier Films was created in 2014 by Inga Lavolé-Khavkina and Bruno Lavolé to develop documentary films projects with a focus on socially relevant topics and on art. 

Born in Kharkov (Ukrain - then a Republic of the Soviet Union), Inga grew up and studied in this city. She then moved to New York where she completed her film studies at New York University. Her first documentary film « One for Yes, Twice for No» tells the story of the exceptional devotion of a group of friends and dissidents from Moscow, expelled to the United States, towards their old comrade suddenly afflicted with terminal Lou Gehrig disease. The film won the Award for Social Significance at the New York University Film Festival. 

After graduation, Inga managed the film studio at the Film and Television Department of NYU and was one of the founding partners of the production company New Post House. She worked as Director, Producer, and / or Editor, on many documentary films such as « Politics of Art, Politics of Cities» – by the eminent Professor of Architecture, Krzysztof Wodiczko from the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT; « All the Vertovs » - about the careers of internationally famous film innovators, the Kaufman brothers – Boris, Mikhail and Dennis (professionally known as Dziga Vertov) ; «The Making of Solaris» which tells the story of the making of Andrey Tarkovski’s masterpiece, Solaris.  

She then moved to Paris where she was a founding partner of Poirier Films.

She directed the documentary film "Half a Square Meter of Freedom" where she was exceptionnaly authorized to film inmates openly during their art workshops in French prisons. Inga is now working on a new film project.

With degrees in Law, History and from the renowned Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris, Bruno worked for 30 years in the International Banking Department of BNPParibas in Hong-Kong, the US, London and Paris. In 2014, he created Poirier Films with Inga and works now as a producer.

"Half a Square Meter of Freedom" is the first movie produced by Poirier Films. Selected in festivals in the US, Germany, France, it just won the award for Best Documentary at the Unrestricted View Film Festival in London. 

Their common work on "Half a Square Meter of Freedom" also drove Inga and Bruno to create "Art et Prison France" a charity supporting artistic activities in prison. Art et Prison France has organized international exhibitions of art created in prisons, as well as roundtables, conferences about art in correctionnal facilities. 








Artworks coming from all over the world touch the spectators of this movie with an incredible emotional intensity. What could drive men and women, locked up behind bars for many years, to paint the portrait of their twin brother or a field of flowers? Some of these artworks can be quite disturbing as they reflect deeply what imprisonment does to a human being. A German art critic is astounded by the level of details in one painting and notices a little symbol of hope in one corner. Why are these prisoners painting? Is it a therapy, a way to escape, a leisurely pastime? 

The director, Inga Lavolé-Khavkina explores the reasons behind the power of this art, which originates beyond the restrictions of the cell. This art delves into the profound recesses of the imagination and the soul, and, when exhibited, creates a bridge between prisoners and society. The viewers go through a surprising experience as the inmates recount how they went through their own healing catharsis, while laying their stories on the canvas; like Thierry, who wonders if one should be considered dead when he lands in prison. To stay alive he paints an incredible series of frescoes on the walls of his prison over many years. Jean-Claude and Berthet are now renowned artists exhibiting in art galleries. They discovered art while in prison, which opened new horizons for them. These men, along with other up-and-coming artists in the film, confide to us their deepest secrets and yearnings. 

The famous writer Arthur Koestler was himself a prisoner on three occasions, which gave him the urge to help inmates find the better in them through art as they learn how to channel their violence through artistic expression. He was instrumental in putting the UK at the forefront of the encouragement of artistic practices in prisons allowing inmates to evolve. In Germany, Peter Echtermeyer, whose International art contest shows that art lives behind closed walls all over the world, shares with us his passion for artistic creation “What is art?” he asks and answers: “If you are touched, then you are part of a performance.” 

“Half a Square Meter of Freedom” is first and foremost about art, beautiful and interesting art, which galleries in Paris, London and Berlin are clamoring to exhibit. As one of the art critics in the film stated, this is the kind of art that touches people on a profound and visceral level. When screened in Paris at the «L’Europe autour de l’Europe» festival the film received a standing ovation. Every spectator was moved by its humanistic approach. The President of the major French not for profit organization Farapej, which regroups more than 70 organizations working with inmates in prison and after their release, wrote to all its members that it is a “must see movie” and conferences should be organized around it. 

Celebrating artistic creation through a visual display of numerous artworks, the director opens new perspectives as they touch people’s hearts and minds while they discover this unknown universe. The music by The Insects company from Bristol matches perfectly the density of emotions brought by this very dynamic film. Approaching this controversial subject with great humanity, “Half a Square Meter of Freedom” entices us to take a new look at prisoners and prepares us to welcome them back into society upon their release. “Art is the shortest path from man to man,” as the French writer André Malraux states.


FESTIVALS - Poirier Films

                                                                          BEST DOCUMENTARY

                                                             UNRESTRICTED VIEW FILM FESTIVAL

                                                                     LONDON       -       July 2020


We are pleased to announce that « Half a Square Meter of Freedom » has won the award for BEST DOCUMENTARY at the London-based Unrestricted View Film Festival 2020. 


The Unrestricted View Film Festival (UVFF) is dedicated to giving up-and-coming film makers a platform to showcase their talents. In 2020, the festival, traditionally held in Islington, a borough in Greater London, took place on-line from 13th to 19th July, due to Covid-19. HALF A SQUARE METER OF FREEDOM was shown on July 14th. 

After participations in festivals in France, the US and Germany, we are extremely proud that Half a Square Meter of Freedom won the award as BEST DOCUMENTARY at the UVFF, in LONDON




Attending the 2019, United Nations Association Film Festival (UNAFF) ihas been an incredibly enriching experience. Documentary films from all over the world offered the public a candid view of some of the most important issues faced by humanity. Under the theme, “Scales of Justice”, the movies selected reminded us of the numerous roadblocks slowing down progress towards a more inclusive, freer society, respectful of everyone but they also instilled hope in the spectators by sharing the stories of citizens and artists who dedicate their energy to build a better world at the grassroot level.

We witnessed the efforts of communities scarred by years of war trying to rebuild their city (“Mosul after the war”), the incredible courage and determination of artists fighting for their freedom of expression (“China’s Artful Dissident”, “Ai Wei Wei: Yours Truly”). We confronted issues such as immigration and the plight of migrants (“The Valley”, “Waking dream”, “Massacre River”, “Credible fear”), the environment (“A concerned citizen”, “Behind the label”, “We are in the field”, “Kifaru”) or women’s rights (“Bei Bei”, ‘The feminister”). We met inmates looking for a new life through art (“16 Bars”, “Half a Square Meter of Freedom”). We were also alerted to new threats (“Resistance fighters: the global antibiotics crisis”, “Time thiefs”). The importance of being aware of the world around us and fighting for a democratically chosen future was highlighted (“Let my people vote”, “Brexit, backstage of a divorce”). While sharing for a week the extraordinary challenges faced by those dreaming of a more just world, our spirit was uplifted by so many stories presenting the courage, optimism and generosity of citizens of the world (“Broken places”, “A concerned citizen”, “Good neighbours”). Those movies showed that a better world is possible as many are active building it, often modestly, at the local level, but with a major impact on their communities (“Councilwoman”, “Advocate”, “Decade of fire”, “Tribal Justice”). These ten days celebrating human spirit and creativity (“Patrinell: the total experience”, “Why are we creative: the centripede dilemma”, “Can art stop a bullet”), extraordinary resilience in front of difficulties or oppression (“R.A.W. Tuba”, “Women of the Gulag”), were pointedly concluded by a movie reminding us that we must continue to fight to ensure the application of the declaration of human rights (“Inviolable – The fight for human rights”).

We enjoyed those movies not only because of the issues which they are dealing with, but because of the artistically creative way they do it. 

We could not see all 60 movies and cannot mention in this brief commentary each movie presented during the festival. We apologize to fellow filmmakers whose movies are not mentioned. They were all remarkable and their presentation can be found on UNAFF web site (http://www.unaff.org/2019/films.html). We recommend everyone to get more information about those movies and encourage those who can to ensure that they are screened and broadcasted. We are so proud that our movie “Half a Square Meter of Freedom” was selected among some of the best and more remarkable documentary movies that we have seen in recent years.

On Sunday October 20th at 8 pm, our movie about art created in prisons was screened and very well received. 


L'EUROPE AUTOUR DE L'EUROPE     -     PARIS     -     MARS 2019

The festival "L’Europe autour de l’Europe" is taking place every spring in Paris. Lasting one month, it presents art movies from the Greater Europe (the 47 countries from the Council of Europe) in arthouse movie theaters in Paris. "Half a Square Meter of Freedom" was presented during the 2019 festival, in the famous St André des Arts movie theater in Paris.


 COURAGE FILM FESTIVAL     -     BERLIN.    -     2020      

 Half a Square Meter of Freedom was a semi-finalist in this festival held in Berlin, Germany. 




The director, Inga Lavolé-Khavkina and the producer were invited to present their movie "Half a Square Meter of Freedom" during the conference about art in correctional facilities organized by the Californian not for profit organization, California Lawyers for the Arts. From June 24th to June 28th, “Arts in corrections: Reframing the Landscape of Justice” gathered around 300 professionals (artists teaching in correctional facilities, educators, prison administrators, returning citizens, from all over the US, as well as representatives from Canada and the UK) to share experience, best practices, life stories as well as to brainstorm about how to best support artistic activities in prisons. Screened on June 25th, “Half a Square Meter of Freedom” was very well received. Numerous participants contacted us to discuss how to show it in prisons, educational facilities, social institutions in the US.

Poirier Films

Poirier Films