The Experimental City



Ticket Prices
General Public:$8.50
Student w/ID (Box Office Only):$6.00
Film Info
Guest Attending:Yes
Premiere Status:Minnesota Premiere
Program:New Releases
Minnesota Made
Release Year:2017
Runtime:96 min
Website:Official Website
Print Source:Unicorn Stencil Documentary Films
Director:Chad Freidrichs
Producer:Chad Freidrichs
Jaime Freidrichs
Brian Woodman
Cinematographer:Chad Freidrichs
Nathan Truesdell
Editor:Chad Freidrichs
Composer:Benjamin Balcom


Opening Night Panel with the Star Tribune’s James Lileks, director Chad Freidrichs, and MN Historical Society curator Brian Horrigan, Friday at 7:00pm.

Saturday (7:00pm) and Sunday (4:00pm) introduction and Q&A with director Chad Freidrichs and Todd Lefko, one of the 12 members of the Minnesota Experimental City Authority.

The Experimental City is a documentary about the Minnesota Experimental City project, a futuristic attempt to solve urban problems by creating a full-size city from scratch in the isolated woods of northern Minnesota.

At the heart of the story is renowned scientist, inventor and comic-strip author Athelstan Spilhaus, who dreams of a new kind of planned city – a truly experimental city that continuously changes to find workable urban solutions.

This new city would employ the newest technologies in communications, transport, pollution control, energy supply – even large-scale domed enclosure – in an attempt to create more livable cities for the 21st Century.

It was a compelling vision, with powerful backers, hundreds of experts, and its own state agency.

But not everyone fell in line with this newfangled vision for the future.


Director, Producer, Editor, Camera, Sound Design, Colorist, Visual Effects, Archival Transfers Chad Freidrichs has performed nearly every technical task – except music production – on every film he has produced, including The Experimental City.

James Lileks has been a columnist for the StarTribune for over 20 years, writes frequently about architecture and urban design, and is the author of four books on 20th century pop culture, with subjects ranging from post-war regrettable food to interior design of the 70s, and five novels set in Minneapolis.

Brian Horrigan just finished a 27-year career as an exhibit curator at the Minnesota Historical Society. He was curator for the “1968” exhibit, originally mounted in 2011 and recently re-installed at the History Center for the 50th anniversaries of the events of 1968.

Todd Lefko is President of the International Business Development Company, an import-export firm dealing with water purification equipment, aeration systems, art, linen, spices, kilns and new technologies. Todd served as one of 12 members of the Minnesota Experimental City Authority, which was charged with selecting a site for the futuristic city, in the early 1970s.


Extraordinary foreign films, must-see American indies, and groundbreaking documentaries from around the world, screening weekly at the Film Society.

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