August 2, 2018 Print

Held in the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas, FreedomFest 2018 was an exceptional three-day conference where 2,000 influencers and open-minded individuals gathered to celebrate liberty in all its forms. FreedomFest is where all are invited to relish in the subjects they love—as well as share their interests and passions with think tanks and individuals alike. All have the opportunity to freely discuss their ideas for the classical liberal movement, engage in varied discussions, attend workshops, and experience the world’s only libertarian film festival at this action-packed event. From its breakout sessions, an elegant experience at the Saturday gala dinner, to its illustrious speakers—this conference truly gave its attendees a weekend to remember. 

A special highlight of FreedomFest this year was when Reason Foundation celebrated its 50th anniversary while hosting its annual Reason Media Awards. Among the awards presented were: the Bastiat Prize for Journalism, given to writers who most eloquently explain the importance of freedom; the Young Voices Award, for individuals under 30 who have produced exceptional writing and policy work; the Reason Video Prize, given to recipients who create video content that elevates libertarian theory; and the most sought after of them all—the Lanny Friedlander Prize.

“The biggest award of the evening is the Lanny Friedlander Prize, which is named for the founder of Reason and honors an individual or group that has created a publication, medium, or distribution platform that expands human freedom by increasing our ability to express ourselves, engage in debate, and generate new ways of understanding the power of ‘Free Minds and Free Markets,’ said Nick Gillespie, editor of Reason magazine. “This year’s recipient was Steve Forbes, the publishing magnate who was among the first people to seize upon the power of the internet as a publishing medium.” 

One of FreedomFest’s most exciting events is the Anthem Film Festival—where film makers from all backgrounds are recognized for their liberty-focused content. Documentaries featuring champions of liberty and honored at Anthem Film Festival include Skid Row Marathon, directed by Mark Hayes, which won best original score and best feature. Skid Row Marathon tells a doleful story about a California Judge who began a marathon running club as a rehabilitation approach for former felons and addicts; further supporting the importance of giving previously incarcerated individuals a chance to reintegrate into society. Saber Rock, directed by Tom and Matt Locastro, was another fan favorite that won the best short documentary award. The short film told the stirring story of an Afghan interpreter who worked with the U.S. led Coalition Forces in order to break citizens away from the oppressive influence of the Taliban in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Saber Rock himself gave an inspiring speech at the opening ceremony of the conference, before accepting the Special Jury Prize for Heroism a few days later. 

Although not mentioned above, there were plenty of influential documentaries, screenings, and world premieres showcased at the Anthem Film Festival that are worth checking out. The Anthem Film Festival took it to new heights for the eighth year running with FreedomFest and the excitement will continue to grow for what is in store for the ninth year. 

The Anthem Film Festival began in 2011; providing a networking and shared interest experience for filmmakers who strive to promote libertarian principles and originality through film. Since then, the festival has grown from a conference room to selling out entire venues for regular and special event screenings. Upon partnering with FreedomFest; Anthem is able to not only share content with other filmmakers, but also to provide an enlightening and inspirational film experience for FreedomFest attendees. 

The Capital Research Center was a participant in Atlas Network's Lights, Camera, Liberty training in 2017, and two of its films were screened at the Anthem Film Festival: 

  • America Under Siege: Antifa, seeks to answer who Antifa is, why they are organizing, and what their goals are. 
  • No Safe Spaces, interviews, students, teachers, and others who have been scilenced on college campuses.