ANTHEM AWARDS
Anthem Film Festival's Featured Films for 2014

2013 Awards

Anthem director Jo Ann Skousen presents Cyrus Saidi with the FreedomFest Grand Prize for his short narrative, "L1ttl3 Br0th3r."

Anthem director Jo Ann Skousen presents Cyrus Saidi with the FreedomFest Grand Prize for his short narrative, "L1ttl3 Br0th3r.

First-time filmmaker Cyrus Saidi won the FreedomFest Grand Prize for 2013 with his short narrative "L1ttl3 Br0th3r," which tells the story of a Nobel Peace Prize nominee who demonstrates extraordinary courage in order to reveal the evil nature of a totalitarian dictator. Big Brother is watching, we know...but so is Little Brother!

"This film is the perfect precursor to our theme for next year, 'Is Big Brother Here?'" said FreedomFest producer Mark Skousen in awarding the $2,500 prize to "L1ttl3 Br0th3r” for demonstrating excellence in filmmaking and libertarian ideals.

An immigrant from Iran who immigrated to Canada with his mother when he was ten, Saidi described America as a place of hope and participated in a panel on free speech at the festival. "This is a very unexpected honor," he admitted in accepting his prize. "As a Canadian-Iranian who really loves America—I will be moving here in about six months—being at this event for the last three days has made me really hopeful about the future of this country and the fact that there are people who really care about what I care about, which is freedom." We expect to see other important works from this fine filmmaker in the future.

Fred Smith (Competitive Enterprise Institute), Lawrence Reed (Foundation for Economic Education) and Drew Tidwell ("I, Pencil" producer) field questions about the magic of free markets after a packed screening of "I, Pencil."

Fred Smith (Competitive Enterprise Institute), Lawrence Reed (Foundation for Economic Education) and Drew Tidwell ("I, Pencil" producer) field questions about the magic of free markets after a packed screening of "I, Pencil."

Filmmakers Anna Zetchus Smith, Courtney Balaker, Janek Ambros, Reaves Washburn and MPI director Adam Guillette bond after their panel on the future of libertarian filmmaking."

Filmmakers Anna Zetchus Smith, Courtney Balaker, Janek Ambros, Reaves Washburn and MPI director Adam Guillette bond after their panel on the future of libertarian filmmaking."

Warren Coats, Joel Stern, Gene Epstein, and filmmaker Jim Bruce discuss the film "Money for Nothing: Inside the Federal Reserve."

Warren Coats, Joel Stern, Gene Epstein, and filmmaker Jim Bruce discuss the film "Money for Nothing: Inside the Federal Reserve."

The theatre at Planet Hollywood provided the perfect venue for Anthem this year, with comfortable seating for 250 people. Nevertheless, many of our documentaries hosted standing-room-only crowds as FreedomFest attendees thronged to watch the films. "I could go listen to someone talk about the same subject," one viewer said, "but in a film you can see a wide variety of people being interviewed, along with music, historical clips, and a great story arc." Many attendees watched every film at the festival.

One of our most popular films was a 7-minute documentary called "I, Pencil," based on the pamphlet of the same name written several decades ago by Leonard Read, founder of the Foundation for Economic Education. The pamphlet describes the process of making a pencil, demonstrating that no one person could make something as inexpensive and ubiquitous as that simple writing utensil. But through the magic of the free market, hundreds of people all over the world provide the rubber, graphite, cedar, aluminum, and machinery necessary to create a pencil that can be sold for a quarter. Using gorgeous graphics, the film brings this simple story to life for a new generation.

Most of our filmmakers participated in panels this year, with topics that included "The Erosion of Free Speech," "Laissez Faire Economics," "Inside the Federal Reserve," "The Unintended Costs of the War on Drugs," "What You Eat Can Cure and Prevent Cancer," and "The Future of Libertarian Filmmaking." Motion Picture Institute Director Adam Guillette provided a detailed, informative panel on "Advice from a Libertarian Film Producer" with MPI fellows Ted Balaker and Naomi Brockwell adding their advice. To purchase audio versions of these Anthem panels—or any of the speakers, debates, and general session events at FreedomFest—go to www.miracleofamerica.com.

And the winners are...

FreedomFest $2,500 Grand Prize

L1ttl3 Br0th3r, Cyrus Saidi, director

Feature Documentary

Jim Bruce, director of "Money for Nothing: Inside the Federal Reserve," accepts the award for Best Documentary Feature.

Jim Bruce

Best Overall:

Money for Nothing: Inside the Federal Reserve, Jim Bruce, director

Producers Maura Flynn and Evan Maloney look on as Andrew Marcus, director, accepts the award for "Hating Breitbart."

Maura Flynn, Evan Maloney, and Andrew Marcus

Excellence in Filmmaking:

Hating Breitbart, Andrew Marcus, director

Winning the award for Best Libertarian Ideals is Paul Feine, director of the feature documentary, "America`s Longest War."

Paul Feine

Best Libertarian Ideals:

America's Longest War, Paul Feine, director

Best International Documentary Feature

Post Lebanon, Lior Agur, director

Short Documentary

Newlyweds Drew Tidwell and Helen Straight accept the award for Best Short Documentary for "I, Pencil," directed by Nick Tucker.

Drew Tidwell and Helen Straight

Best Overall:

I, Pencil, Nick Tucker, director

Excellence in Filmmaking:

The Last Week: How Lawsuits Doomed an American Icon, Curtis Briggs, director

Best Libertarian Ideals:

Act of Terror, Gemma Atkinson and Fred Grace, directors

Short Narrative

Motion Picture Institute director Adam Guillette celebrates with Grand Prize Winner Cyrus Saidi.

Adam Guillette and Cyrus Saidi.

Best Overall:

L1ttl3 Br0th3r, Cyrus Saidi, director

Accepting the award for Excellence in Filmmaking is Reaves Washburn, director of the short narrative, "Knocked Down."

Reaves Washburn

Excellence in Filmmaking:

Knocked Down, Reaves Washburn, director

Janek Ambros, shown with his award for Best Libertarian Ideals for his short narrative, "Son of Man."

Janek Ambros

Best Libertarian Ideals:

Son of Man, Janek Ambros, director

Audience Choice Awards

Len Richmond, Director of "What if Cannabis Cured Cancer", accepts the Documentary Feature Audience Choice award.

Len Richmond

Documentary Feature:

What if Cannibas Cured Cancer, Len Richmond, director

Short Documentary:

I, Pencil, Nick Tucker, director

Short Narrative:

L1ttl3 Br0th3r, Cyrus Saidi, director

Honorable Mention

Documentary Feature, Libertarian Ideals:

Rebel Evolution, Anna Zetchus Smith, director

Short Narrative, Audience Choice:

The Pilgrim, Sean Buttimer, director

Following the awards ceremony, Anthem celebrants danced to the sounds of the Pink Flamingoes, an interactive band specializing in golden oldies and audience interaction, not only with great music but with beach balls in the air, bubble wrap on the floor, blow-up guitars on the stage, and even a volleyball net dividing the dance floor. As one filmmaker said with glee, "Where else can you play volleyball with Steve Forbes?" Anthem was the place to be July 10-13. Join us in Las Vegas July 9-13 for Anthem 2014 and another great line up of libertarian films.

2012 Awards

“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:

Documentary Feature

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.

Short Documentary

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.

Short Narrative

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

Bob Bowdon accepts the award for Excellence in filmmaking at the Anthem Libertarian Film Festival

"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 Film:

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

Documentary Feature:

"Cool It," Ondi Timoner, director
"Zero Percent," Tim Skousen, director

Short:

"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.

July 9-12, 2014    |    Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas