Short films add the seasoning to film festivals. In between the feature length films, bits of humor, intellectual stimulation, and emotional tugs make the experience special. This year’s Anthem Film Festival, the tenth annual, had its share of short film spice.
Like most everything else in the world, Anthem, scheduled to take place in July in Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, had to go virtual. It took its selection of features and documentaries exploring issues around social and political liberty online from August 26 to September 30.
Cartoons for Grown Ups
My favorite shorts were politically incorrect: PIG TV. PIG stands for Politically Incorrect Guide, a series of 10 cartoons inspired by the books put out by Regnery Publishing. The books, beginning with the Politically Incorrect Guide to American History, give readers a different take on subjects ranging from hunting, to the sixties, to feminism. The short films add more irreverence and snarky humor to the subjects explored.
Animation allows the snarkiness boys to go way beyond what they could do live. In The Politically Incorrect Guide to Communism, they hop into a time-machine DeLorean to explore the Soviet Union, real-life Malice’s birthplace. The background visuals add to the fun. Malice and Woods sit in a café named The Hammer and Pickle and two Commies who spy on them look just a little like Boris and Natasha from Rocky and Bullwinkle. These visual background jokes reminded me of the early Mad Magazine comics.
According to series director Patrick Reasonover, now that there are ten episodes completed, they will be looking for a platform where you can watch and, if you don’t have to run to your safe space, maybe binge all this politically incorrect humor.
Political Correctness Daddies
Who is political correctness’ Daddy and Mommy? Films from the series Architects of Woke, by the think tank Capital Research Center, identify the progenitors of this mind set. At Anthem online you can watch Howard Zinn, Hollywood, & the Fairy Tale of American Evil and The 1619 Project’s Fake History and an interview with their creator, Rob Montz.
Some of you may have dozed off in history class and Montz knows this. In an interview with Anthem director Jo Ann Skousen, he explained how he tries to keep eyeballs on the truth.
Skousen said she created a new category for films like those Montz produces. She asked, “Architects of Woke, so smart and informative and edgy and out of the ordinary and you manage to do it in just five minutes. So, who’s great idea was this?”
Montz laughed. “Jo Ann, please go on about how wonderful it is. I don’t want to interrupt you.”
He explained that he and his producing partner met at Anthem film festival several years ago. As the “Woke-pocalypse” began to expand, they thought that the public needed to know where the ideas now being enforced as truth on social media were cooked up in the 70s, 80s and 90s.
He went on to explain their creative focus. “The medium of video depends on having characters and story. It cannot just be an op-ed where you speak to the camera and put some boring archival, footage over. So, we wanted to be very specific about tying in the episode to specific people.”
Montz has succeeded. You will not fall asleep during his videos which, after Anthem, you can locate at Dangerous Documentaries.
Life on a Whiteboard
Halfway between the cartoons of the Politically Incorrect Guides and the intensive historical detail of Architects of Woke, lives another of Anthem’s short film honorees, the My Name is… series from the Atlas Society.
The Atlas Society focuses on explaining and expanding appreciation for the ideas of Ayn Rand. Atlas Society CEO Jennifer Grossman explained that when she took over four and a half years ago that she looked for an inexpensive way to find an audience beyond current fans of Ayn Rand. She found inspiration in the Draw My Life videos popular on the internet.
The Society began with My Name is Ayn Rand and followed up with a focus on characters from her novels, then expanded into broader topics.
Grossman explained, “Part of the charm and what makes these videos popular is that someone is actually sitting there drawing them.”
The Anthem Film Festival featured two of the Atlas Society’s most recent videos, My Name is Chip Wilson and My Name is Hong Kong.
Grossman explained that they took a different approach with My Name is Hong Kong, by creating a fictional young girl to represent the city. You can view this video at the end of the article.
The Future is Freedom
Jo Ann Skousen hopes to return the Anthem Film Festival and its parent event FreedomFest to the live world next year. Until September 30, you can get tickets to this year’s virtual Anthem Film Festival at this link.