Winner: Best Original Score, Oxford International Film Festival
"Bruce Geisler has captured the sights, sounds and sensations of the era, along with its hopes
and disappointments, in his documentary, Free Spirits: The Birth, Life
& Loss of a New-Age Dream"
— Alan Lecker, Many Hands Magazine film review
Beginning with high school and Hell’s Angels dropout and spiritual visionary Michael Metelica and
eight other hungry teenaged boys in a treehouse in 1968, the Brotherhood of the
Spirit/Renaissance Community grew into one of the largest, most successful and controversial
communes of its era.
Before its final demise in 1988, it directly touched the lives of thousands of people, for better
or worse. For some commune members, their time there was the highlight of their lives. For
others, it was a nightmare.
Many stayed a decade or more, committing their youth, sweat, and worldly possessions to creating
an example of brotherhood and harmony, that, they felt, would serve as a model for the rest of
the world. Unfortunately, as it grew, the commune became a microcosm of the world at large, with
most of the same problems, structures, and limitations of both American society and Soviet
The commune’s story, and that of the rise and fall of its inspirational leader and founder,
Michael Metelica, reflected a generation. It has elements of a classic Greek Tragedy, as the
commune survived the intense hostility of the world around it - governmental attempts to throw
them off their land, the burning of communal buildings, cars run off the road, and the brutal
murder of a commune member - only to fall because of internal forces, not least of which sprung
from the negative changes in Metelica himself.