When shy Finns pick up the microphone something extraordinary happens: singers come alive and show their true emotions. The stories of five people intertwine, opening a door to a hidden paradise, Finnish karaoke, where everyone is accepted and gets a round of applause.

Director's Statement

When I was young, my greatest fear was to go on stage performing or giving a presentation in front of others. The fear was even greater if I had to stand there without an act, as myself. Nowadays I go to karaoke bars and I can enjoy singing without a shame. It’s intoxicating to sing your heart out and realise that people are actually cheering for you. For a fleeting, uplifting moment, I feel like I’m being seen, heard and accepted by others.

This is what led me to the idea of making KARAOKE PARADISE. I see myself in the characters of the film. Like me, they want to express themselves and be accepted as who they are, despite their shortcomings. Even though their lives and destinies might be different from mine, I can recognise their struggles and hardships, but also their love and compassion. In the film, karaoke helps each character to realise who they are, what is missing and what makes them happy. I want the audience to join on this journey with the characters.

I must admit, when I started the film, I found myself snickering: “Finnish karaoke, is it going to be a quirky film about weird people, who get drunk and sing bad?” But only after spending time with numerous karaoke-lovers from all across Finland, I found out that Finnish karaoke is nothing like the cliché I had heard of. To my surprise, I opened a door to an incredible community, or more like a family, where everyone is welcome no matter their age or social class. There, in the safe corner of karaoke, people support each other, listening and sharing life’s experiences through music. Of course, Finnish karaoke is often quirky and funny, but people laugh at themselves, not at others. The process of making this film has showed me, that karaoke is really about celebrating the fact that tonight, right now, we are alive and together as humans. It makes us want to sing.

Director's Biography

Einari Paakkanen (born 1980) is a Finnish Director focusing on stories about human connection and communication with others. His films have been screened globally in festivals such as CPH:DOX and Visions du reel to mention a few. His first feature documentary MY FATHER FROM SIRIUS premiered in the Warsaw Film festival in 2016 and was broadcasted by Yle, SVT and Arte. Einari did MA in documentary directing at ESCAC in Barcelona.

2022 - KARAOKE PARADISE, Documentary
2019 - CROSS COUNTRY, Documentary
2016 - MY FATHER FROM SIRIUS, Documentary

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Einari Paakkanen

Written by: Einari Paakkanen

Produced by: Marianne Mäkelä

Cinematography: Marita Hällfors

Editing: Antti Reikko, Einari Paakkanen

Sound: Pietu Korhonen

Visual Effects: Teemu Pitkänen

Nominations and Awards

  • Documentary Selection 2022