Login | Create Account Poll Currency Weather Facebook Youtube Search

Finnish director to lead next generation

Finnish Harri Haanpaa is the head of Film and Digital Media Academy at the prestigious British International School Phuket (BISP).

By Dalia Hilmi

Monday 19 January 2015, 08:00AM

Harri Haanpaa

Harri Haanpaa

Having only moved to Phuket just over a year ago, Harri has quickly worked his way up and introduced not only the students of BISP, but also the people of Phuket, to the creative world of film production.

Inspired by some of the greats, David Fincher (Fight Club) and James Cameron (Titanic), Harri began his career in Finland where he ran his own film production company – “DreamMill”. The company originally was created in 1995, but kicked off in 2000. Soon after, a producer from Los Angeles called to offer him a job opportunity. He then spent the next eight months training to prepare for his big move to LA.

He worked on Hollywood Express, a TV show about music, films, popular culture and celebrities. After two years, he returned to Finland, followed by a tour around Europe, continuing to produce and direct films, commercials and TV shows, while also developing his camera work and editing skills.

Harri says that he still enjoys all the basics, including editing and producing: “I really enjoying guiding and teaching others, and being close to the directing side of films.

“As a director, my mission is to make people shine i.e. whatever they’re doing... make them perform to the best of their ability.

“It’s quite similar to teaching, really, which is why I eventually turned this interest into a profession. So I then achieved a teaching qualification from Finland.

“Teaching is like another form of media, and teaching here at the academy has been great. The students are actually really interested, and I feel like I am coaching them rather than teaching. You really learn who the passionate ones are.”

Harri says one of his desires would be to go straight into producing and directing films with the students, but it’s important to “understand the basics” first. He said that it is crucial to let the students think on their own about what they’ve produced.

“I try to let them think individually and have their own voice. What’s great about BISP is that they really believe in this as well, and one of its aims is to allow the students to have a voice.”

“I am surprised at how fast they [the students of BISP] are learning. Kids learn surprisingly well, if we let them do it. School is the centre of society and life.”

So what’s next for Harri?

While he continues to build his life in Phuket and teach at BISP, he also tries to encourage other professionals in Phuket to get involved in film events and groups. He also plans to develop his scripts and create more short films, as well as produce a quality TV series.

Harri is keen to continue developing his skills and helping others.

“My motivation is simple: to always produce better and better work.”

To find out more or to get in touch with Harri, email him at



Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

Comments Here:
Comments Left:
# Characters

Be the first to comment.

Have a news tip-off? Click here


Phuket community
Phoenix finally risen from seabed

I wonder if anyone will learn from this: thai company with basic equipment = failure. Foreign compan...(Read More)

Tourist Police target rental operators over unlicensed tourists renting motorbikes

Gen Angkoon seems to think that Thais have harder heads or something as he says they're likely t...(Read More)

Ban on Loy Kratong lanterns near Phuket International Airport

Ban them kratongs everywhere! They cause environmental damage both on land and in the sea....(Read More)

Tourist Police target rental operators over unlicensed tourists renting motorbikes

Same coloured helmets, that will make revenue collection easier... but hey, think about hygiene, who...(Read More)

No passport required: Phuket Immigration confirms ‘passport on person’ not required despite ’Operation X-Ray Outlaw Foreigner’

There has never been any law in Thailand that says anyone needs to carry their passport. There IS a ...(Read More)

God is a DJ - A divine event at Dream Beach Club

I would never go into that place, a monstrosity of a building and blight on the beautiful Layan beac...(Read More)

Phuket van driver falls asleep at the wheel, slams into street lamp

I would also add that the Filipina was immediately drug and alcohol tested, her picture included in ...(Read More)

Thais arrested for charging ‘access fees’ to Freedom Beach

Paully, if stupid people want to pay 200B to enter a beach, that's their problem. Nothing wrong ...(Read More)

Phuket Marine Office urges water safety for Loy Krathong

Marine boat operators, don't worry, just hold your breath during 22 Nov only. '''Cap...(Read More)

Phuket officials unveil New Year ‘Seven Days’ road safety campaign strategy

Haha, the 2 times a year safety campaign as like people don't know to drive safe and sober! Str...(Read More)