Knowing how target audiences consume and interpret information is key to the success of the liberty movement. Thanks to Atlas Network’s Lights, Camera, Liberty! program, partners all over the world are working together to tell powerful stories through video and film. At Liberty Forum & Freedom Dinner 2015, Atlas Network hand-picked a selection of five short videos for a film festival of shorts chosen from among the most successful that have come out of the Lights, Camera, Liberty! program. This year’s winning film series is Love Gov, produced by Atlas Network partner the Independent Institute.
Love Gov features Scott “Gov” Govinsky, a character who personifies the federal government as an overbearing boyfriend who imposes his “good intentions” on an idealistic college student, Alexis. Each episode follows her relationship with “Gov” as his intrusions wreak comedic havoc on her life professionally, financially, and socially. The lighthearted approach of the videos speaks to audiences on a personal level. The episode featured at a screening held during LFFD was the third installment, “Love Gov: A Remedy for Healthcare Choices,” which comedically portrays the debate over whether free markets or government control should lie at the foundation of health care provision and health insurance.
The short film produced by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, Government Infiltrates Native Pow Wow and Takes Eagle Feathers, told the story of government intervention into a Texas Native American tribe’s sacred ritual. Government officials seized 42 eagle feathers, considered sacred by the tribe, and threatened arrest if their religious leader did not allow the officials to join the pow wow. For simply exercising religious liberty, the leader was facing up to 15 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. The film shows a disturbing way in which government encroaches on the personal lives of citizens, especially native people.
In the spirit of its Constitution Day event, the James Madison Institute visited a Florida college campus to ask students some questions about the Constitution in its short film, titled Do College Students Know the Importance of the U.S. Constitution? After a series of completely wrong answers from several students in response to the questions “Who is the father of the Constitution?” and “What are the first three words of the Constitution?” the film left viewers with some signs of hope, because many students still had surprisingly insightful and caring answers for questions about what the Constitution stands for and why it is important.
As Martin Ågerup from CEPOS acknowledged, it is not easy to get people to pay attention or care much about tax reform. The CEPOS film Tax Reform of the Century was able to grab attention and help viewers understand the organization’s plan to reduce or rescind some of the most distortionary taxes and excises in Denmark. Through the use of visually appealing infographics and simple explanations provided by an economist, CEPOS succeeded in conveying how its tax reform plan is an effective way to address the challenge of generating wealth and growth through healthy incentives.
The Institute for Humane Studies (IHS) told a compelling and emotional story to emphasize the problem of drug restrictions and the impact it has on millions of Americans struggling with incurable diseases. Sophia’s Story: One Family’s Fight for Happy Ever After tells of one family’s struggles to help its daughter with uncontrolled epilepsy, a disease that affects more than 1 million Americans and currently can’t be stopped by any legally available medicines. The film explains how cannabidiol (CBD), produced from cannabis plants, has the potential to greatly help people who suffer from uncontrolled epilepsy, and demonstrates the injustice that underlies how a family’s zip code determines whether or not a person can get a treatment that might be effective and life-changing.
Since its inception, the Lights, Camera, Liberty! program has provided intensive training and grant support to more than 80 organizations in the freedom movement. During the last few years, the program has seen a great leap forward in both the quality of the technical production and the quality of the storytelling. The result has been an explosion in viewership as think tanks routinely achieve views in the tens of thousands with high points of well above 1,000,000 views. This shift make a tremendous difference, allowing increasingly larger audiences to engage the ideas of liberty and respond to those ideas through both their hearts and their minds.