One of the enjoyable things about film festivals is that audiences sometimes get to contribute to the creation of the final version of a film. Filmmakers will occasionally screen what is called a “work in progress.” This is what Adam Carolla and Dennis Prager chose to do with their film titled No Safe Spaces, at the Anthem Libertarian Film Festival. Anthem is part of FreedomFest, which took place at the Paris Resort in Las Vegas July 11-14.
The film explores the phenomenon taking place on college campuses and surrounding communities in which certain kinds of speech is declared outside the realm of traditional free speech. This allows its propagators to be banned or even physically attacked. Nearly all the people who have been attacked have been conservatives, such as Milo Yiannopoulos or Ben Shapiro. Comedians, ironically, also get attacked,. The ghost of Lenny Bruce must be furious about this.
Further, college students, helped by compliant college administrators, have demanded “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces,” so they would not be obliged to hear what they characterize as threatening speech. This burgeoning “grievance culture” is what inspired Carolla and Prager to explore what they see as turning higher education and free speech on their heads.
The work in progress included footage of protests, interviews with both conservatives and liberal intellectuals, and Carolla and Prager on stage and interviewing students and comedians. The finished product will also contain recreations of both Carolla’s and Prager’s youths, to show how two people of completely different backgrounds and life experiences can come together on this critical issue.
The film was funded by an Indiegogo campaign and matching funding by Capital Research Center.
Producer Mark Joseph (The Vessel, Max Rose), Director Justin Folk, and Executive Producer Jake Klein hosted the screening. After the film they took questions and suggestions from the audience.
An audience member suggested that the film needed to be “more balanced.”
Folk commented, “We tried to talk to journalists and other people. We found they were reluctant to talk to us. This is not a partisan film. We will have both perspectives in there.”
Klein lamented the difficulty of communications today. “The left doesn’t understand the right,” he said, “and when you don’t understand something, you can feel threatened. That’s why they call it hate speech. I’m the only libertarian in my group of friends. Try and be friends with people who disagree with you politically. It’s harder to think of someone as an evil person if they are a polite friendly person. Just be friends with them.”
Folk said that it was a big challenge to get all viewpoints into 90 minutes. “The film doesn’t have an ending yet. I think it’s going to be a little bit of hope, with a call to action.”
Another audience member said that his heroes were the students in universities across the country who were standing up for freedom against the persecution of their peers and university faculty.
Student and Non-Students
Folk replied, “We have a lot of coverage of kids like that that we haven’t put into this particular cut. There will be a lot more students in the final cut.”
Klein added, “A lot of the people at the Berkeley demonstration were not students. This intolerence is spilling out into the community.”
An audience member asked if they planned to have Milo Yiannopoulos in the film.
Folk replied, “Candace Owens is in the film. Charlie Kirk is in it. We could include Milo. We could fill out the people a little bit, but the film is really not about these people, it’s about the ideas.”
Producer Mark Joseph summed things up: “We only believe in one safe space. It’s called America.”
(Photos provided by ‘No Safe Spaces’ unless otherwise noted.)