September 6, 2016 Print

It’s almost eerie how Milton Friedman had the perfect responses years ago to the outrageous economic claims that Bernie Sanders would make during his U.S. presidential campaign this year. It’s also peculiar that the Australian government is bailing out nearly obsolete industries — why not also bring back the chimney sweep, the town crier, or clunky VHS tapes? And every year in the United States, nearly 3,000 Americans die because they cannot find a matching bone marrow donor, a situation that could be dramatically improved with modest incentives — but that option is being blocked by a federal agency.

These are the subjects of short films produced by three organizations that have been named as finalists for Atlas Network’s Lights, Camera, Liberty! Film Festival Award. Each film showcases the absurdity of outrageous economic practices and government overregulation.

“Every year, we see the Lights, Camera, Liberty! community grow more innovative, more ambitious, and more successful,” said Matt Warner, Atlas Network’s vice president of programs and institute relations. “This year’s finalists show not only a new high-water mark in professionalism, but also a diversity of creative approaches to sharing the message of liberty. Strengthening this community so that our partners continue to be challenged and inspired by each other is how the liberty movement will continue to reach new audiences and new heights.”

The three finalists for this year’s Lights, Camera, Liberty! Film Festival Award are:

Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance: All Obsolete Industries Deserve the Taxi Bailout!

“Participation in Lights, Camera, Liberty! helped in terms of putting me in the right frame of mind to be able to come up with the idea in the first place!” said Tim Andrews, executive director of the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance. “Realizing the power of videos and being able to generate such a successful concept, frame it and so forth — actually thinking about the use of video — was the primary influence of Lights, Camera, Liberty!

The organization’s video spread rapidly online, with help from a number of bloggers who assisted in promoting it — but no paid advertising.

“Prior to the release of this campaign, sources within the New South Wales government confirmed to us that the government would be bailing out all holders of taxi licenses for all licenses held,” said Brad Kitschke, public policy manager for Uber Australia & New Zealand. “One week after this video, and this op-ed, this was substantially reduced to a maximum of two payments of US$20,000. Given that the vast majority of licenses in New South Wales are held by a small number of companies, this represented a huge saving for taxpayers, and we were told that our campaign and this video in particular played a significant part in this reversal by the government. The video was spread virally after we posted it to our satirical Facebook page.”

Foundation for Economic Education (FEE): Friedman vs. Sanders: Democratic Socialism Debunked

“The goal of this video was to present a quick, witty take on some of the more outrageous economic claims Bernie Sanders made during his campaign,” said Sean Malone, director of media at FEE. “We chose to have Milton Friedman ‘respond’ to those claims because Friedman was a great debater in life and an incredible popularizer of more accurate ideas about economics. The strategy was simply to design the video to be as shareable as possible on Facebook, and then post it to the platform via our own Facebook page. FEE spent $0 on advertising and promotion for this video, and within a week, it was viewed more than 1.2 million times and shared 25,000 times, and it now has 6,700 ‘likes’ (including standard likes, hearts, smiley faces, and wows) and just 21 ‘angry’/dislike responses from viewers.”

Institute for Justice (IJ): Everything

“The Institute for Justice created this film for three reasons,” said John Kramer, vice president for communications at IJ. “Our first goal was to team up with Atlas Network through Lights, Camera, Liberty! to raise IJ’s production and storytelling skills to the Hollywood level. The second goal was to gain critical recognition for the production, and we have now accomplished that, earning laurels in 15 film festivals and counting across the nation, including entry into the prestigious Breckenridge Film Festival. These first two goals provided an essential foundation for our effort to achieve our third and most important goal:  to use this film as a vehicle to change public policy and, specifically, to do away with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ proposed rule that would block compensation for bone marrow donors — a rule the department has been sitting on since December 2013.”

The Lights, Camera, Liberty! grant and training program includes complimentary registration and accommodations for the annual Lights, Camera, Liberty! workshop in Los Angeles with Hollywood insiders; financial support for video equipment and technology improvements; multi-day on-site training at organizational headquarters for multiple staff; access to a private message board year-round where film and video experts will answer questions, review work, and offer tutorials and tips; and eligibility to compete in the annual film festival competition with cash prizes for the winner.

The program culminates this year in a film festival competition at Liberty Forum in Miami, with a $1,000 prize for the winner. Join Atlas Network and the creators of these Lights, Camera, Liberty! finalists at the 2016 Liberty Forum in Miami.