Arto Halonen has directed numerous award-winning films, including the documentary films Shadow of the Holy Book, Pavlov's Dogs, Conquistadors of Cuba and Karmapa – Two Ways of Divinity. In 2005, Halonen was awarded the Finland Prize, the highest annual prize in the arts given by the Ministry of Culture and the Finnish state.

Among other important prizes, he has received the Humanitarian Award of the European Union in 1998, and, in 2008, the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival honoured him as one of the most important documentary filmmakers of his generation. Halonen is also the founder and the first festival director of DocPoint - the Helsinki Documentary Film Festival, and is a member of the European Film Academy.

Arto Halonen's filmography