“The Afghan Nightmare” took the FreedomFest Grand Prize for Excellence in Filmmaking and Libertarian Ideals at the Anthem Libertarian Film Festival for its stunning cinematography, dramatic story arc, and powerful message. To make this documentary, director Klaus Erik Okstad spent four months embedded with the Norwegian army as they labored to prepare Afghan forces for the NATO troop withdrawal in 2014. This intense, eye-opening film demonstrates the futility of modern “nation building” warfare with cinematic skill and gripping storytelling.
Anthem’s films this year were outstanding. One judge said, “I wish we could give the award to every one of these documentaries!” Here are the awards in each category:
Best Overall: “Ayn Rand & The Prophecy of ‘Atlas Shrugged,’” directed by Chris Mortensen.
Excellence in Filmmaking: “An Inconsistent Truth,” directed by Shayne Edwards; written and produced by Phil Valentine.
Best Libertarian Ideals: “Nullification: The Rightful Remedy,” directed by Jason Rink.
Excellence in Filmmaking: “Everything is Incredible,” directed by Tyler Bastien Trevor Hill, and Tim Skousen.
Best Libertarian Ideals: “Don’t Mess with ‘Firefly,’” directed by Ted Balaker.
Greg Lukianoff of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and Ted Balaker, director of "Don't Mess with 'Firefly'" accept the award for Best Libertarian Ideals in Short Documentary.
Best Overall: “The Parachute Ball,” directed by Peter Boothby.
Excellence in Filmmaking: “Closing Bell,” directed by Janek Ambros.
Best Libertarian Ideals: “The Conversation,” directed by Courtney Balaker.
Anthem director Jo Ann Skousen presents the award for Best Libertarian Ideals to Courtney Balaker for her short narrative "The Conversation" --matching her husband's award for short documentary. This was an exciting and unexpected first husband/wife sweep for the Anthem Libertarian Film Festival!
The Film Festival was one of the most popular events at FreedomFest this year. Films were screened to standing room crowds who often lined the walls or sat on the floor, even after additional seating was added. One of the highlights was a preview of “Atlas Shrugged Part 2,” presented by producers Harmon Kaslow and John Agliarloro. Next year, when Anthem and FreedomFest move to Caesar’s Palace, we will have a larger screening room and even more enthusiastic audiences.
2011 Anthem Awards
"The Cartel," a documentary that offers many innovative solutions to the problems in public education, won the prestigious PRI prize for excellence in filmmaking at the Anthem Libertarian Film Festival July 16. Director Bob Bowdon accepted the award, which includes a $2,500 cash prize, from Sally Pipes, CEO of the Pacific Research Institute. "We received many fine entries," Pipes said, "including four excellent films on education. 'The Cartel' was best." In his acceptance speech, Bowdon encouraged the audience of 700 FreedomFest and Anthem attendees to become actively involved in school choice. Pipes added, "We hope the PRI prize will encourage more filmmakers to develop projects that foster libertarian ideals."
"The Cartel" also won the Anthem award for Best Documentary, and "alleged" won the Anthem award for best narrative feature. Producer Frederick Foote accepted the award for "alleged." The awards were given at the Gala closing night banquet and Revolutionary Ball, which included dinner, dancing, a speech by Senator Rand Paul, and even costumes. FreedomFest founder Mark Skousen and Anthem Director Jo Ann Skousen appeared as Antony and Cleopatra, in fact. Next year's festival will be held at Bally's (in the Palace rooms near the Event Center on the ground floor) July 11-14, 2012.
Winners of the first annual Anthem Libertarian Film Festival Awards:
PRI Prize for Excellence in Filmmaking and Libertarian Ideals:
The Cartel, Bob Bowdon, director
Best Narrative Feature: "alleged," Tom Hines, director
Best Documentary Feature: "The Cartel," Bob Bowdon, director
Best Short Drama, "Bright," Benjamin Busch, director
Best Short Comedy, "Final Census," Shawn Monaghan, director
Best Short Documentary, "Gentle Men," Jesse Gibbons, director
Best International Narrative Feature, "Butterfly Crush," Alan Clay, director
Best International Documentary, "Overdose," Martin Borgs, director
Special Jury Prize for Excellence in Filmmaking:
Narrative Feature: "Marathon," Biju Viswanath, director
Documentary Feature: "Cool It," Ondi Timoner, director
Short Drama: "Tyttonen," Fabian Giessler, director
Short Comedy: "Fairy Tale of London Town," Louis Neethling, director
Special Jury Prize for Libertarian Ideals:
Narrative Feature: "Lady Magdalene's," J. Neil Schulman, director
Documentary Feature: "Indoctrinate U," Evan Coyne Maloney, director
Short Drama: "Threnody," Sean Buttimer, director
Short Comedy: "Et Miaow Alors," Adrian Westbrook, director
Short Documentary: "The Sea is a Harsh Mistress," Jason Sussberg, director
Grand Jury Special Presentation:
"Zero Percent," Tim Skousen, director
Audience Choice Awards:
Narrative Feature: "alleged," Tom Hines, director
"Cool It," Ondi Timoner, director
"Zero Percent," Tim Skousen, director
"Bright," Benjamin Bush, director
Congratulations to all our filmmakers. We hope to see you at Anthem again, with more great films featuring self-reliant protagonists and espousing principles of individual liberty, choice and accountability. Audience reaction was universally positive--we appreciate all that you did to make the first annual Anthem Libertarian Flm Festival such a success.