Free Societies

Films & Videos Featuring India, Cameroon, Russia, And Venezuela Get The Green Light At Atlas Network’s Lights, Camera, Liberty

LCL Pitch Competition header

Atlas Network’s Lights, Camera, Liberty program helps think tank and civil society leaders increase their capacity to advance human freedom through film and video.

Each year, Atlas Network partners who participate in the program compete to tell their stories through a film pitch competition conducted before a panel of expert judges. In a field of 18 contestants, nine Atlas Network partners emerged as winners in the 2023 Lights, Camera, Liberty Film Pitch Competition.

The winning teams hail from Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America. Each organization has won a US$5,000 production grant. The four Lights, Camera, Liberty Film Pitch Competition finalists will receive end-to-end production support to film their project.

The five semi-finalists will receive additional in-person production training with industry experts as they prepare to use their Lights, Camera, Liberty grants to launch their projects.

Production isn’t the end of the Lights, Camera, Liberty program, though. Films and videos made by program participants are eligible to be shown at the Lights, Camera, Liberty Film Festival held each year at Atlas Network’s Liberty Forum in New York City.

The year’s most impactful film festival submission earns an additional $10,000 prize.

The four winning finalists of the 2023 Lights, Camera, Liberty Film Pitch Competition are:
Simranjyot Web

India’s Centre for Civil Society, represented by Simranjyot Kaur

Centre for Civil Society (CCS) has long championed the cause of India’s street vendors, who have historically lacked the liberty to operate free of government harassment and as part of the country’s formal economy. As an attorney working at the Centre, Simranjyot Kaur seeks to advance the legal rights of these microbusinesses. CCS’ greenlit production will take audiences on a journey following one of India’s street vendors as the hero working to overcome government interference in their daily business.

Olga Web

Free Russia Forum, whose pitch was presented by Olga Zogorodnikova, a Russian expatriate currently living in Lithuania

Olga Zogorodnikova is a filmmaker and social media content creator focused on engaging young Russians opposed to the dictatorship from both inside and outside her home country. Using the power of narrative cinema, Free Russia Forum will tell the story of a young Eastern European woman whose life changes when she comes to know the Russian refugees in her community displaced by authoritarianism and war in their homeland.

Victor Web

Uruguay’s Center for the Study of Contemporary Open Societies (CESCOS), represented by Victor Navarro

CESCOS envisions a Latin America that prospers through liberal democracy and the rule of law, just as their home country of Uruguay has achieved. In their new film, CESCOS Fellow Victor Navarro says the organization will share stories from a tragic icon of Venezuela’s authoritarian regime—El Helicoide—a striking facility in central Caracas that was built to be used as a shopping mall, but became a notorious prison for Venezuela’s state intelligence agency.

Epoh Web

Nkafu Policy Institute from Cameroon, represented by Epoh Séverin

In Cameroon, government policies make access to private health insurance unaffordable, putting health care out of reach for many Cameroonians, even at state-run hospitals and medical centers. Nkafu Policy Institute Senior Graphic Designer and Technical Lead Epoh Séverin says their new film will share personal stories of the unconscionable state of health care in Cameroon, what it means for the human dignity of patients and their families, and a better way forward for the country’s health system.

The 2023 Lights, Camera, Liberty Film Pitch Competition semi-Finalists are:
Nataliya Web

Ukraine’s Bendukidze Free Market Center, represented by Nataliya Melnyk

Bendukidze’s new documentary will inspire audiences with the courage and resilience of the Ukrainian people in the face of the accelerated Russian invasion of their country. The film will be a call to the freedom-loving people of the world to stand with Ukraine and liberal democracy in a pivotal struggle against authoritarianism.

Aimable web

Burundi’s Centre for Development and Enterprises Great Lakes, represented by Aimable Manirakiza

Women in Burundi do not have secure land property rights, impoverishing families and preventing the world’s poorest country from enjoying the benefits of personal freedom and economic opportunity. The team at CDE Great Lakes will use video to tell stories of how the economic empowerment of women, through the right to own and use land, can raise up people and families throughout Burundian society.

Hungary’s Civitas Institute, represented by Zoltán Kész

As a former member of the Hungarian Parliament committed to classical liberal principles, Civitas’ Zoltán Kész plans to document the rise of populism and authoritarianism in Hungary, and how the takeover of government by illberal leaders threatens the well-being of current and future generations.

Albert Web

Institut Ostrom Catalunya, based in Spain’s Catalonia region, and represented by Albert Torelló

Energy prices are rising in Catalonia as the region’s energy infrastructure ages and the European continent tries to declare independence from fossil fuels that originate in Russia. Institut Ostrom Catalunya will tell the real stories of Catalonians who struggle to get by under current energy policies and how removing government restrictions on affordable sources of renewable energy can help address the problem.

Juan Web

Libera Bolivia, represented by Juan Pablo Chamón

Libera Bolivia is returning to the program after being recognized as a finalist in the 2022 Lights, Camera, Liberty Film Festival for their short documentary Sabemos Vender Bien, a look inside the life of vendors at a street market in El Alto, Bolivia. Libera Bolivia’s Juan Pablo Chamón now aims to take the project to the next step, growing their short teaser documentary into a miniseries on the people and policies that can help street vendors build more prosperous lives for themselves and their communities.

In a film studio system, even when a motion picture production is wrapping up, many more projects are still being worked on in the development stage. The same might be true of an idea you have for using film or video to advance your mission. That’s why now’s a great time for you to consider joining us as part of the 2024 Atlas Network Lights, Camera, Liberty program.

Click the button below to learn how to apply for the next edition of the program and get in touch with our team with any questions.