Welcome to our website

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.

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


The date is approaching. On Sunday October 20th at 8 pm, our movie about art created in prisons will be screened in Palo Alto, California, during the United Nations Association Film Festival, which takes place from October 17th to 27th 2019. We are very proud to have been selected to participate in this festival which was created more than 20 years ago to celebrate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, emphasizing the fight for justice and exploring possible paths emanating from it into the future. The movie trailer can be seen on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/160097952

Originally conceived to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the festival continues its celebration of human rights through this year theme: “The Scales of Justice”. 


In March 2019, "Half a Square Meter of Freedom" was selected to participate in the Festival "L'Europe autour de l'Europe" which took place in Paris. It met a very positive reception from the audience.








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