Sunday , May 26 2024

Anthem Film Festival: Back to Vegas with John Cleese, Kennedy, and Frederick Douglass

The Anthem Film Festival returns to Las Vegas after COVID cancelations and a year exiled to Kristi Noem’s South Dakota. The festival, which modestly bills itself as “the world’s greatest libertarian film festival,” will run this year from July 13-16 at the Mirage in Las Vegas.

Monty Python alum John Cleese will speak at Anthem/FreedomFest

Besides being a venue for finding challenging, fun, and important films, there are several other reasons for adding it to your must-do list this month. The Mirage Resort is going away and Anthem is part of FreedomFest, which has expanded, adding comedy, training, and nearly 350 speakers.

Lasts and Firsts

Former MTV Star Kennedy will MC Anthem/FreedomFest

The Mirage Resort, long the home of Siegfried and Roy, will be replaced next year by a project by Hard Rock International. If you’ve never seen the volcano on the strip, the lions and tigers, or the dolphins and other undersea creatures, time is running out. Hard Rock’s giant guitar-shaped hotel will rise in their place.

FreedomFest, which runs parallel to Anthem, will be hosted this year by Fox News personality Kennedy. It will feature training on running a business, investing, and, in general, how to make money. New this year, FreedomFest will include the Punching Up Comedy Festival with an appearance by Monty Python veteran John Cleese.

And the selection of films is amazing.

COVID and Comedy


Is it time to laugh our way out of COVID-19? The filmmakers of Quarantine for Two think so. The film, a feature-length romcom, will show on Saturday. It’s got to be the first romance where the guy and gal had to stay six feet apart.

Other comedies set for Anthem include Parks and Heck, a spoof of a beloved TV series, which pits libertarians against local taxes; We’re Doing Good, about a couple whose good, and woke, intentions to change the world fail hilariously; and Melons, about a misunderstanding a grocery store owner has which leads to his targeting by a rabid internet mob.

Past, Present, Future

A wide variety of Anthem films deal with understanding the past and the present, and avoiding a bad future.


Image of an American: Frederick Douglass & the Right to Vote explores the struggle of this civil rights icon. Douglas realized abolishing slavery was not enough – Black Americans had to be guaranteed that they could vote.

Civil rights also provides the theme for Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in his Own Words. The film goes much deeper into his life than the Supreme Court confirmation battle involving Anita Hill.

Light will be shed on current controversies by films such as Planet Lockdown. It looks at the response to COVID and suggests alternate responses for future pandemics. Roe v Wade: A Legal History brings together six legal scholars to look in detail at the history of the critical decision. Battleground Melbourne explores the tragic over-reaction to COVID by the Australian government which resulted in police firing on unarmed demonstrators.

What does the future hold? Grid Down, Power Up explores the possibility of massive power outages that could cause the deaths of millions of Americans. The possibility of a happier future underlies Beyond Homeless: Finding Hope. This documentary explores efforts to solve the homeless problem in two different cities – one successful, one not.

Find Out More

The films above are just part of the lineup of over 25 films, panels, and special events with and for fans and filmmakers over the four days of the festival. The entire schedule is available here. Event websites contain details about ticket options and more info about FreedomFest events.

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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