Private Project

Christiania - 40 Years of Occupation

Christiania - 40 Years of Occupation tells the story of a squatter community occupying an abandoned military base in the center of Copenhagen, Denmark. Christiania was born in 1971 when youthful idealism and a severe housing shortage incited hundreds of young people to occupy 85 acres of deserted brick buildings, woods, ramparts and canals as their home. Finding it politically unpopular to evict the young settlers, the Danish government declared Christiania a short-term social experiment.

Over forty years later, Christiania is still standing.

Through interviews with longtime Christiania residents and police and government officials, Christiania - 40 Years of Occupation explores consensus democracy, alternative building methods, drug policy and Scandinavian culture in a provocative and often humorous character study of this fascinating community.

  • Robert Lawson
  • Richard Jackman
  • Robert Lawson
  • Richard Jackman
  • Robert Lawson
  • Steve Newton
    Original Music
  • Scott Weiss
    Sound Design
  • Tom McIntire
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 16 minutes 23 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 9, 2014
  • Production Budget:
    35,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Mini DV digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Ojo Cónico, Ecumenopolis
    Barcelona, Spain
    November 27, 2015
    Spanish Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Doctober - Pickford Film Center
    Bellingham, WA
    October 11, 2015
    Official Selection
  • Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
    San Francisco, CA
    October 18, 2015
  • ArchFilmLund - Lund International Architecture Film Festival
    Lund, Sweden
    September 11, 2015
    Swedish Premiere
    Nomination, Best Documentary
  • Burning Man
    Black Rock Desert, Nevada
    September 2, 2015
  • ReelHeART International Film and Screenplay Festival
    Toronto, Canada
    July 9, 2015
    Canadian Premiere
    Silver Award - Second Place Feature Documentary
  • Northwest Film Forum
    Seattle, WA
    June 20, 2015
    Encore Screening
  • Resene Architecture and Design Film Festival
    Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin, Christchurch - New Zealand
    Official Selection
  • STIFF - Seattle Transmedia and Independent Film Festival
    Seattle, WA
    May 9, 2015
    Seattle Premiere
    Best Feature Documentary
  • Budapest Architecture Film Days
    Budapest, Hungary
    March 6, 2015
    Official Selection
  • Kumu Art Museum
    Tallinn, Estonia
    March 4, 2015
  • Christiania
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    March 1, 2015
    European Premiere
  • Carborro Film Festival
    Carborro, North Carolina
    November 22, 2014
    Official Selection
  • New York Architecture and Design Film Festival
    Tribeca Cinemas, New York, NY
    October 17, 2014
    World Premiere
    Audience Favorite
Distribution Information
  • Dreamscape Media
Director Biography - Robert Lawson, Richard Jackman

Robert Lawson completed the Documentary Production Certificate program at the University of Washington in 2005. His student documentary, KL Shannon: My Fight Too was featured in the Langston Hughes African American Film Festival. Since then, his documentary work has garnered grants from the City of Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs and King County 4Culture. Robert shares videography duties with Richard Jackman, and is editor of Bus No. 8's productions. He extends Bus No. 8’s focus on community as a volunteer, consultant and mentor on nonprofit and community-based projects.

Richard has a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Washington. Richard focuses on background research and videography in Bus No. 8's productions. He brings his diverse experiences in architecture, alternative communities and grassroots activism to his approach to the documentary as art form and social catalyst. In 2005, Richard received a fellowship to spend five months in Copenhagen researching Christiania. While there he developed background knowledge on Christiania and Danish culture, and made a number of contacts that became invaluable in shooting the film.

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Director Statement

Bus No. 8 is a documentary production company dedicated to the exploration of the meaning of community.

By pooling our diverse experiences and disciplines -- from activism and architecture, to theater and music -- Bus No. 8 offers a unique approach to documenting communities around the world.