More than 1,000 viewers flocked to the Celebrity Ballroom at Planet Hollywood
for the Anthem Libertarian Film Festival's opening night event, a sneak preview
of Atlas Shrugged: Who is John Galt? The final installment of the cinematic
trilogy based on Ayn Rand's magnum opus was warmly received, and after the
screening audience members enjoyed red-carpet photo opportunities with several
cast members, including Kristoffer Polaha, who plays John Galt, and Dominic
Daniel, who plays Eddie Willers.
Kristoffer Polaha (John Galt), Jo Ann Skousen
and Harmon Kaslow (Atlas Shrugged producer) enjoy a moment on the red
AS3, as it is affectionately called, won the Anthem award for Best
Narrative Feature. In receiving the award, executive producer John Aglialoro
commented wryly, "When I bought the rights to Atlas Shrugged I had
mostly black hair!" Then he added pensively, "That was in August of 1992.
I thought it would take a year or two to make the film. After all, it was
one of the ten most influential books ever written. I thought after a year
or two I would go to Valhalla, where Ayn Rand is buried, and say, 'Well, we
did it!' But it didn't happen after a year or two, or three or four. So it
is a great comfort in my soul that I will be able to go to her graveside now
and say, 'We did it.' And hopefully she'll say-maybe I'll hear it in the wind
or in the leaves of the trees-- 'Well done.'"
As they surveyed the vast audience already seated half an hour before the
screening was scheduled to begin, Atlas Shrugged producer Harmon Kaslow
congratulated Anthem's founding director Jo Ann Skousen on the rapid growth
of the festival and foreshadowed Aglialoro's words. "We did it!" he exclaimed,
recalling earlier seasons of the festival when Kaslow and Aglialoro brought
clips and snippets to share with Anthem audiences and reported on their works
in progress. Skousen agreed. "Anthem started four years ago in a 100-seat
conference room, and now look at us: we're in the Celebrity Ballroom with
over a thousand viewers!" Showing this major film was particularly significant
for this festival, since Anthem takes its name from Ayn Rand's earlier novel,
Dinesh D’Souza autographs books after a successful
screening to over a thousand viewers.
An equally vast and eager crowd of more than 1,000 attendees returned to
the Ballroom Friday night for the screening of America: Imagine the World
Without Her, Dinesh D'Souza's new documentary that refutes what he calls
"the shaming of America." In the film D'Souza acknowledges five areas in which
America stands accused, including theft of land, life, and liberty from Native
Americans, African Americans, Mexicans, economically under-privileged Americans,
and foreign lands (through war and imperialism). The film then provides a
broader historical perspective by imagining a world without America's positive
influence, including ending slavery and giving most residents the chance to
achieve the American Dream. The film met with enthusiastic approval from an
audience that was often moved to tears of emotion. Viewers stayed for nearly
an hour of Q & A with D'Souza, and then lined up to get autographed books
and posters. America won the Anthem award for Best Documentary.
Enthusiastic audience waits to enter the theater.
In between these two blockbuster films, Anthem audiences enjoyed over a dozen
documentaries and narrative features in the comfortable 300-seat Sin City
Theater, which was often close to capacity. In fact, at one point the line
of viewers waiting to enter the theater snaked completely across the exhibit
Co-producer of Poverty, Inc. Mark Weber
and Acton Institute executive director Kris Mauren
have no idea that a hat trick is on the way.
The FreedomFest Grand Prize was awarded to Poverty, Inc., which began
its feedback tour at Anthem. This compelling documentary, sponsored by the
Acton Institute, presents an eye-opening perspective on the unintended consequences
of foreign aid and offers market solutions to world poverty. Philip Sansone,
director of Whole Planet Foundation and a participant in the panel that followed
the screening said of the film, "If I could make a movie about this topic,
this is the one I would make.... This film will be required viewing for our
entire Whole Planet team." In addition to winning the FreedomFest Grand Prize,
Poverty, Inc. also won the Anthem award for Excellence in Filmmaking
and the Audience Choice award with a 4.7 approval rating (on a scale of 5).
Go to povertyinc.org for more information.
John Stossel interviews Tim Delmastro about
his film, Freedom from Choice,
which won the award for Best International Documentary.
Close on its heels as a candidate for the Grand Prize was Freedom from
Choice, Tim Delmastro's fine film about Big Brother and the nanny state.
Delmastro identifies several areas in which the government sticks its nose
unnecessarily (and often detrimentally) into our business. It includes interviews
with Peter Schiff and Jeff Berwick, who joined the panel after the screening
to discuss the issues presented in the film. The film won the Anthem prize
for Best International Documentary, and libertarian journalist John Stossel
interviewed Delmastro during the Thursday evening taping of his tv show. (The
Stossel FreedomFest show has become an annual event and can be seen on Fox
Business and Fox News.)
FreedomFest Producer Mark Skousen greets Kristoffer
Polaha (John Galt).
Now beginning its fifth season, the Anthem Libertarian Film Festival is part
of FreedomFest, an annual celebration of ideas that has been described as
"the world's greatest gathering of free thinkers" and "Disneyland for the
mind." With over 200 speakers, 2,000 attendees, and ten events going on at
the same time, the hardest part is choosing what to attend. One film viewer
said, "Film offers a better way of viewing important issues than just sitting
in a lecture hall-I'm going to the movies!" Another said, "I signed up to
buy the FreedomFest audio tapes so I could stay in the theater and watch all
Kels Goodman celebrates his win for Excellence
in Filmmaking with his wife, Stephanie.
Filmmakers had a blast too. "It was awesome!" said Kels Goodman, director
of The Last Eagle Scout. "I'm eager to come back next year-with a brand
new film." Goodman reported making several important contacts with potential
supporters during the festival. Nicole Greco, who directed 100 Signatures,
called Anthem "one of the most dynamic and beneficial film festivals ever."
She added, "We are honored to be here and find it encouraging to meet so many
Panelists Gary Alexander, Jeff Berwick, Peter
Schiff and Doug Casey discuss Tim Delmatro's Freedom from Choice.
Awards host Chip Wood noted, "In the past several years, many things have
grown at FreedomFest, but very few have grown in size, significance and popularity
nearly as much as the Anthem Film Festival. It began as an idea of Jo Ann
Skousen four years ago with some small, interesting presentations; this year
she had literally thousands of people watching some fascinating independent
films." Anthem is indeed bigger and better than ever. We can't wait to see
what films are submitted next season.
Hayley Skousen bestows trophies at the Awards
Here is the complete list of Anthem winners this year:
FreedomFest Grand Prize
Poverty, Inc. Michael Matheson Miller, director; Mark Weber, co-producer
Best Overall: Atlas Shrugged: Who is John Galt? James Manera, director;
John Aglialoro, executive producer
Excellence in Filmmaking: The Last Eagle Scout, Kels Goodman, director
Best Libertarian Ideals: Collapse, Dave McCormick, director
Best Overall: America: Imagine the World Without Her, Dinesh D'Souza
and John Sullivan, directors; Gerald Molen, producer
Excellence in Filmmaking: Poverty, Inc. Michael Matheson Miller, director
Best Libertarian Ideals: Dog Days, Kasey Kirby and Laura Waters Hinson,
Best Overall: Freedom from Choice, Tim Delmastro, director
Excellence in Filmmaking: Exit, Klaus Erik Okstad, Olav Njaastad,
Anders Somme, directors
Best Overall: Cough, Jason Kempnich, director
Best Overall: No Vans Land, Sean Malone, director
Excellence in Filmmaking: Don't Cage My Speech! A Student Schools his
College, Ted Balaker, director
Best Libertarian Ideals: Before Snowden: Behind the Curtain, Bill
and Tricia Owen, directors
Audience Choice Awards
Feature Length: Poverty, Inc. Michael Matheson Miller, director
Short: The Ticket: Stories of Choice in Education, Bob Bowdon, director
Executive Director of AS3 John Aglialoro
and his wife Joan Carter wait hopefully
for the Best Narrative Feature award to be announced.,
Who is John Galt? Dominic Daniel (Eddie Willers)
knows it’s Kristoffer Polaha!
Brad and Kristen Warren accept Collapse's
award for Best Libertarian Ideals
on behalf of director Dave McCormick, who was on deployment.,
Festival director Jo Ann Skousen congratulates
for winning the Audience Choice Award
for The Ticket: Stories of School Choice and Quality Education,
Lana Harfoush (Dog Days) and Sean Malone
(No Vans Land) participate
in the entrepreneurship panel "Small Companies, Big Dreams".
Festival director Jo Ann Skousen introduces
to an enthusiastic crowd of over a thousand filmgoers.,
See you at Anthem 2015!