Directors Lawen Mohtadi and Gellert Tamas bring us an intriguing film about the Swedish Romany writer and actor, Katarina Taikon, one of Sweden’s most read and beloved writers, who used her celebrity status to fight for human rights. Taikon had its world premiere at Way Out West 2015.

Along with her sister, Katarina started acting in several films and soon became very popular in the Swedish industry. They played the parts of gypsies and Katarina remembers the director coaching them to not articulate so well when they spoke.

Roma, or Gypsy camps were located outside of Stockholm. The gypsy population, around 900, at that time were illiterate, with┬áno opportunities for jobs or education. Katarina became interested in helping the gypsy people and wrote a book which garnered a lot of attention. Taikon used this popularity to help push for equal rights for all the people of Sweden, not just the “Swedish”.

Allowing the Roma to have their own apartments and being given educational opportunities for children and adults to go to school were her main goals. Sweden became the first country to start granting these things to the gypsy population, and more and more arrived to seek refuge in Sweden.

In the film, we see Katarina’s life changing from being a celebrity in the film industry to being an activist for civil rights. One of Sweden’s most beloved children’s authors whose book series “Katitzi” was one of the most read, Katarina devoted her life and energy to a cause because it was something she felt was her responsibility to do as a Romany herself.

With the combination of archive footage and the interviews with Katarina’s family and friends, the filmmakers did an excellent job capturing her life and her struggles in the film. The viewer has an opportunity to hear Katarina’s story and see what it was like for her and the Romani people during the civil rights movement in Sweden, something many people do not know much about. An enlightening film about one of Sweden’s most important civil rights activists, Taikon is a fantastic film that will leave the viewer wanting to learn more.