Wednesday , May 22 2024

Anthem Film Review: ‘Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in his Own Words’ Top Award Winner

The documentary film Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in his Own Words won three major awards at the Anthem Libertarian Film Festival. The event ran this year from July 13-16 at the Mirage in Las Vegas.

The film, directed by Michael Pack, won the Anthem Grand Prize, the AnthemVault Prize for Best Original Score, and the Audience Choice Award for Feature Films. It tells the life story of United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas in an in-depth and surprising manner.

Michael Pack accepting award from Anthem Director Jo Ann Skousen

An Amazing Life

Thomas’s life embodies the classic American tale. He was born into a poor family in Georgia. His father abandoned the family, and his grandfather took over raising him.

Growing up a devout Catholic, he first aimed at joining the clergy, but found racism in the Church.

He redirected his efforts, getting his BA, then gaining admittance to Yale Law School. While at Yale, he discovered the works of Thomas Sowell and Ayn Rand which moved his world view from liberal to conservative.

A series of positions in both the private and public spheres led to his eventual nomination to the Supreme Court by President George H. W. Bush in 1991. He currently holds the title of longest serving member of the Court.

The interviews in the film, and much more, have been published as a book.

A Special Film

After the screening, festival founding director Jo Ann Skousen spoke with filmmaker and director Michael Pack.

Skousen asked about the inspiration for the film.

Pack said that he observed how liberals were focused on telling the story of Ruth Bader Ginsberg. He thought the life of a conservative justice deserved some attention and decided to try to tell Thomas’s story.

Pack shared, “It took a while to come up with the concept of him telling it in his own words. It started out as a traditional documentary.”

Ultimately, Pack recorded 24 hours of interviews with Thomas. He explained, “This was the longest interview ever granted by a Supreme Court justice who rarely gives interviews.”

Pack continued, “The goal was to make the film moving. It went through many emotional and intellectual phases, and it takes a lot of work to get the audience to be emotionally touched.”

Skousen asked if he had done anything else with those 24 hours of interviews.

Pack said that he had compiled them into a book which has a lot more detail.

Filmmaker Michael Pack with his Anthem Film Fest awards.

How to Watch

The film began a theatrical run in 2020, but that was curtailed due to COVID-19. Pack said, “It’s my goal to reach the middle of the country, not just the people in the room. So, the film can be seen on most streaming sites.”

It runs 120 minutes and can be viewed on a variety of streaming services. Find out where you can see it at the film’s website. You can watch the trailer, below.

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

(Photos by author)

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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