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WHY WE FIGHT selected for Venice Gap-Financing Market. More info.

Prisoners of the Ground

Directed by Stella van Voorst van Beest, 2009

Main Info

Creative documentary, the Netherlands-Belgium
89’, HD Cam, 16:9 anamorphic, stereo, colour


How to survive the dark Finnish winter? In Prisoners of the Ground Stella van Voorst van Beest takes us on a journey through Finland to the rhythm of the Finnish tango. In karaoke bars and dance halls we meet people from all walks of life and get to know their life stories full of nostalgia and melancholy. To get through this long, cold and dark season they dream of the ‘happy land’ as is featured in the popular tango song “Satumaa”. And while they find solace in the tango, the snow outside slowly starts to melt, but when the sun finally breaks through, will these prisoners of the ground be able to reach the happy place they dream about?



Her portrait is thoughtful and intimate.


Captivating documentary.

NRC Handelsblad


Written & directed by Stella van Voorst van Beest

Director of Photography Sander Snoep

Editing by Jan De Coster

Sound design by Bart Jilesen

Sound Henk Rabauw

Produced by Denis Vaslin for Volya Films

Coproduced by Emmy Oost for Cassette for timescapes

With the support of Dutch Film Fund, Rotterdam Film Fund, Flanders Audiovisual Fund and Thuiskopie Fund