Major League Libertarians Review Activism Film Festival

Sharlene with Sarah and Elle (R)
Sharlene with Sarah and Elle (R)

Major League Libertarians August 2017 On July 15th, the Major League Libertarians were invited to cover the first annual Colorado International Activism Film Festival held at the Bug Theater in Denver, Colorado.

I will admit that at first, myself and Producer Seth had our apprehensions as to what we would find when we arrived. Would this be a bunch of half witted anti-Trump films? Were we going to be subject to more of the same type of political “conversations” that have been so counter-productive at the various rallies we’ve covered in Denver? Despite these reservations, we went with an open mind and were happy to find the contrary.

Logan (R) with Will Beckingham (L) and Austin Lupher for Best Cinematography Award Winner, A Hero in All of Us
Logan (R) with Will Beckingham (L) and Austin Lupher for Best Cinematography Award Winner, A Hero in All of Us

This is the first year festival director Sharlene Holt, with the help of her daughters, Elle and Sarah Ullom, held the festival – but not the first time she has been involved in political activism. She cites waking up to 9/11 being an inside job as creating her interest in activism, eventually leading her to start Musicians for Freedom in 2008.

Her preferred form of activism is through art, film, and music as mechanisms to explain the various views of her and others – a refreshing change from our mainstream political climate.

This refreshing change continues with the films submitted to the festival through FilmFreeway. With a variety of topics ranging from the crises in Angola and West Papua, to immigration, the war in Afghanistan, and domestic violence to name a few.

We had the opportunity to speak to the filmmaker and one of the actors of the film Ten Thousand Camels. This film focuses on an interaction between a U.S. soldier and a suspected terrorist. The soldier learns that his captive speaks English and is a doctor educated at Cambridge and a dialogue between the two ensues. At first the frustrations of both parties comes out, but after the realization that the captive is not an enemy combatant, the two eventually gain a greater understanding of one another from the other’s perspective.

Logan (R) with Ten Thousand Camels Director Kent Flaagan.
Logan (R) with Ten Thousand Camels Director Kent Flaagan.

Filmmaker Kent Flaagan said showing this other perspective was important to him and one of the reasons he made the film. After 9/11, Kent felt a lot of people in America saw all Muslims as terrorists and had a fear of anyone of the Muslim faith. It’s because of this perception that he found it important to show the alternate perspective. The sentiment was shared by his award-winning actor Michael Thayer, who plays the middle eastern man. A professional thespian since 2006, this is Michael’s first film. He says it was also important for him to show the perspective of the middle eastern people, and wanted his first film to mean something. Michael received the best actor award at the Outlaw and Red Dirt film festivals and was nominated in many others. He says he has gotten great feedback from people who say it is a story that needs to be told.

While in my opinion, the film’s portrayal of the soldier was off-base, the film does a great job in showing a different perspective and reminds us of the real human toll of our involvement in the middle east and how a lack of understanding one another leads to many widespread misconceptions.

Another film shown at the festival was an action drama called A Hero in All of Us. It’s a story of a child and his mother who are being abused by an alcoholic step-father. To get away from the abuse, the child escapes into his comic book world. When he puts on his mask, he turns into a super hero who stands up to his step-father and eventually inspires his mom to stand up for herself to leave the bad situation.

We talked to producer Will Beckingham, who plays the step-father, and the director’s son who plays the lead role, Austin Lupher. They said they wanted to make a film that had an overall subtle moral that “the power to fight back is in everybody” and the best way to stop bullying was to stand up to it. This moral is wrapped in a comic book style movie complete with action scenes that were particularly fun for the production team to film. The film features several stunt men and does not skimp on action.

Read the rest of this article courtesy of Major League Libertarians.

 

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