Freetopia is a one and a half hour long documentary about the Freetown Christiania, a self-proclaimed autonomous community in the centre of Copenhagen. Despite four decades of legal disputes between Christiania and the Danish Government, the community has never given up on its ideas and has served as a symbol of freedom for Danish society. We witness how Christianites have responded to everyday struggles on their journey to achieve one common dream – a free, self-sustainable utopia, where people live under their own set of rules and do what they want to. And that leaves us with the single question: What is freedom and how far one must go to find it?
Christiania’s existence dates back to 1971, when the former military barracks in the centre of Copenhagen were abandoned. As in other European countries in those days, squatting movement in Denmark was large. And therefore not long after the military base was cleared, hundreds of people moved in! There were hippies, squatters, shipyard workers, students, artists, musicians and alcoholics, all at one place. Since its opening, Christiania was indeed very open to cannabis. No wonder that it became home to the legendary Pusher Street, the biggest hash market in the world! Numerous police raids followed, but the Pusher Street carried on, just like the whole Christiania! The communities’s alternative way of living soon won the hearts of the public.
And despite the systematic opposition of the Danish government against the illegal occupation of the centre of the capital, Christiania got a new lease on life after being declared as social experiment. However, that has not stopped the new Conservative Government in 2001 to adopt new law initiating a private ownership of the area. Such a demand represented a real ideological dilemma for the community, where everything has belonged to everyone.
The film’s narrative unfolds through a series of storylines: beginnings of Christiania, autonomy, hash market, landownership. We hear characters to share their communal stories showing passion, hope, determination and courage. As the opposing parts, the representatives of the Danish Government and Copenhagen Police explain their perspectives, but at the same time convey the support for the unique values, which Christiania stands for. No matter what difficulties Christiania has encountered, the community has always shaken it off and stepped up. And like this proved to all of us, that if we stand strong, we can conquer any dream, even the ultimate one, freedom. However, Freetopia concludes with pointing out, that freedom is rather something that starts from within.
Lívia is a passionate and empathetic person who enjoys being challenged. Her strong belief in justice and human rights led her to study Political Science, International Security and Law, with extended research with the Delegation of the EU in Laos and KAIPTC in Ghana. After graduation Lívia has sought to expand her early interest in photography to include videography. The combination and development of these interests has led to the documentary film Freetopia. Lívia would like to use film as a medium to give people a voice and contribute a positive political and humanitarian impact. She is inspired to work with people who are passionate about their craft and are not afraid to bring something new and bold.
Alice loves to spread values of understanding, compassion and mindfulness. She is interested in research and activism in areas of rights of humans and animals, environmental protection and alternative ways of living. She studied Diplomacy, Korean Studies and International Security and Law. Alice likes to support people by connecting them with others. She enjoys creating projects and events where other people can show their skills, employ their passion and learn something new. She is involved in Effective Altruism Denmark where she propagates effective and altruistic values while employing her creativity.
Natalie Ryan Hebert is the film’s narrator who will guide you through Freetopia’s story with her smooth velvet voice. She has been working as an English voice artist since 2011 and the range of her skills and her experience in the field is broad. Natalie comes originally from Australia but lives nowadays in Copenhagen with her beautiful family.
Dannie Rise is the head of Local Investigations Department that deals with cases of civic crime including violence, morality, theft, burglary and robbery. He is the former head of the Investigation Unit at Task Force Pusherstreet, which after 4 years of its existence in March 2017 became part of a new, broader, unit, Operating Special Department that fights organized crime including drug market all over Copenhagen. Dannie Rise has been working at Police for 20 years and he is currently working toward a Master’s degree in Management in Public Governance at Copenhagen Business School.
Martin Lidegaard is Member of Parliament for the Danish Social Liberal Party. He was Denmark’s Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2014 to 2015 and Minister of Climate, Energy and Building from 2011 to 2014. He is a co-founder of Denmark’s green think-tank CONCITO where he used to operate as a chairman.
Knud Foldschack is advocate of the Foundation Freetown Christiania as well as its board member. He specializes within ecology and alternative models/forms of organizations, including the challenges associated with the establishment and operation of companies of the social economy.
René Karpantschof is a sociologist (PhD) and a historian (MA), who is specialized in societal conflict and protest behavior. He has been a lecturer and researcher at the Department of Sociology, University of Copenhagen, and served as a external consultant for e.g. the Danish Parliament, the Nordic Council, the European Commission and the European Police College. Today he is an independent consultant and author.
Ole Lykke Andersen is a founder of Christiania’s Historical Archives, its archivist and a resident of Christiania. He holds a Master of Danish and History and he is a former teacher. After his move to Christiania in 1979, he founded Christiania’s Historical Archives and since then he has been leading it. Ole Lykke Andersen is also a member of the Christiania’s Press Group and he stands behind several exhibitions, lectures, books and contributions to cultural festivals about Greenland and Christiania.
Britta Lillesøe is an actress, a cultural coordinator, an event maker and an activist. She lives in Christiania together with her husband, film documentarist, Nils Vest. Besides Britta Lillesøe is an author of theatre plays, and a co-founder in 1972 of the theatre group Solvognen (The Chariot of the Sun). She is a founder and chairwoman of Christiania Cultural Association (1996), where she has directed and coordinated a large number of events including ‘Christiania Peace Festival’ in 2004, ‘Climate Bottom Meeting – Windows of Hope’ in 2009, a symposium for ‘Free Cultural Spaces’ in Christiania in 2015, ‘The Constitutional Day of the Minorities’ at Christiania (2005-2017), and series of ‘Hearings about Hash, Hemp and Culture’.
Nils Vest is a documentary film director and a producer. He is married to actress and cultural coordinator Britta Lillesøe with whom he lives in Christiania. Nils Vest has directed and produced many documentary films with historical, artistic or social content. His endeavour to raise awareness of Copenhagen’s old environments and architecture brought him Europe Nostra’s conservation award in 2010.
Risenga Manghezi is a CEO of Christiania Smedie, a company producing popular Christiania bicycles, a member of Christiania’s Press Group and he has a Master of Business from Roskilde University. As he lives in Christiania, he shared his experience through a speech at TEDxCopenhagen 2012. He presented there Christiania and some of its values including freedom.
Helena Waldmann came to Christiania 27 years ago. She fell in love with the community, met her husband, and decided to start a family. Helena and her husband, Helge, got 2 daughters, and spent the next 9 years building the 12 corner house. She now facilitates open meditation sessions every Thursday in that house. She currently has a small jewellery shop by the lake, where she sells her own designs. She also works with healing, therapy, and body energy work in Christiania.
Marios Orozco is a painter that has lived in Christiania since 1981. His parents are both painters, Luis Orozco from Mexico and Lilly Kristensen from Denmark. Marios received a scholarship for the Boston Arts Academy from the Boston Globe in 1979. Marios has also recorded and performed music (funk and hip hop) throughout 1990-2011. Marios lives from his art and has a colorful gallery called Christiania Art Gallery where he sells his art. Besides painting Copenhagen Christiania and many of its residents he also has painted many paintings of Greece, Cuba, Mexico, England, Belgium and the USA.
Kirsten Larsen Mhoja is a member of the Christiania Information Office ‘New Forum’, the Christiania’s Press Group, the Contact Group, and the Tour Guides Group and she resides in Christiania. She holds a Master of African art and has an interest in culture and development. She is as well a member of dance group performing Tanzanian tribal dances is a member of the Christiania Information Office ‘New Forum’, the Christiania’s Press Group, the Contact Group, and the Tour Guides Group and she resides in Christiania. Kirsten holds a Master of African art and has an interest in culture and development. She is as well a member of dance group performing Tanzanian tribal dances.
Finn Breddam took a one-year leave from studying computer science and moved into Christiania in 1979. Already longhaired, he got stuck in a very utopian collective rebuilding an old military building after a fire, with time-typical ideas of a better world. He has worked in the collective grocer’s shop and the Bathhouse, played a lot of music, worked with communication in and from Christiania and been a representative of his area in the “foreign policy body” of CA, the Contact Group. Having a degree in information science, he has primarily been working with IT/ web/ communication and knowledge management jobs.