Sunday , December 3 2023

Anthem Film Festival Reviews: Freedom – Economic, Personal and Political

Three films that screened at the Anthem Libertarian Film Festival this year each illuminated a different aspect of the nature of and struggle for freedom. Anthem, part of FreedomFest, ran from July 17-20 at the Paris Resort Las Vegas.

Why are some countries rich and other poor? Made in Mehke explores this question. Regulation looks at the government drugging your children into “happiness.” And who doesn’t remember the brave soul who blocked tanks in Tiananmen Square with his body? Tank Man explores what his day may have been like.

Made in Mehke

Born in Senegal but spending much of her childhood in France, Magatte Wade confronted a conundrum. Why were the two places she considered homes so different in wealth? Her attempt to answer this question and do something about it is the subject of Made in Mehke, which won the Best Short Documentary award.

Magatte Wade and producer Sean Malone discuss the importance of free enterprise

The film, produced as part of the How We Thrive series by the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), follows her journey of discovery. The short answer to her question: economic freedom.After the screening at Anthem, Wade and executive producer and Director of Media at FEE Sean Malone discussed the film.

Wade summed up the problem: “Just being there trying to make the case is like swimming in molasses. The government suppresses local business people, but when foreign companies show up, they lay out the red carpet for them.”

Malone admitted that was often a problem in American cities as well.

You can watch the entire 30-minute documentary here. More information about Magatte Wade can be found at her blog.


Can a charming, full-of-life little girl talk the government out of drugging her into “happiness”? That’s the question explored in Regulation.

In the not-too-distant future, a social worker, played by Sunita Mani (Mr. Robot, GLOW), shows up at a farm to apply a behavior-altering patch to a 10-year-old girl, played by newcomer Audrey Bennett. In this dystopian future it’s standard practice to apply the patches to the children of certain people.

Newcomer Audrey Bennett plays a girl resisting being drugged into happiness

The film captures the condescending attitude of bureaucrats towards the people they “serve,” but presents this social worker with emotional and ethical challenges. This is an excellent film in that in only 12 minutes it makes us care about both the little girl and the social worker and sets up suspense which it maintains until the last moment.

Regulation has received accolades from over a dozen film festivals and is a perfect example of Ronald Reagan’s nine scariest words in the English language: “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” You can find out more about the film at its website or Facebook page and watch the trailer at the end of this article.

Tank Man

In 1989, the day after a massacre of demonstrators by the Chinese government, the world was stunned and inspired by a man who stood up against and stopped a line of tanks in Tiananmen Square, using only his body. No one knows for sure who he was or whether he survived retaliation from the government.

No one knows what happened to Tank Man

Tank Man by filmmaker Robert Peters won the Anthem Audience Choice award. It presents a fictionalized story of what that man’s day might have been like, leading up to his confrontation with the tanks.

You can watch this freedom film here.


The Anthem Film Festival has become my favorite venue for finding challenging, fun, and important films. You can find out more about Anthem, including info on all their films, at their website and Facebook page.

About Leo Sopicki

Writer, photographer, graphic artist and technologist. I focus my creative efforts on celebrating the American virtues of self-reliance, individual initiative, volunteerism, tolerance and a healthy suspicion of power and authority.

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