Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Inspiring Films Can Ignite Individual Action

Today I saw the film Pirate Radio. It is based on a true story of a pirate radio station that played rock music, which was banned from the airwaves in Great Britain. (Plus, the disc jockeys were on the raunchy side to boot.) The station was set up on a ship that was anchored off the coast of England in the late 60’s. Despite discouragement from authorities, they had over 20 million listeners. Ultimately, the British Government went to some lengths in an attempt to shut them down. Regardless of such attempts, the pirate radio station persisted because of their passion for rock music.

Stories of people, who have the courage of their convictions to stand up to authorities whose policies defy common sense, have always been an inspiration to me. There are many films that reflect this freethought concept, which have the potential to stir a viewer to action toward her or his own personal convictions. Too many people feel as if their opinions, ideals and passions are insignificant; and that any action on their part would be ineffectual, and an utter waste of time. Such films remind us that it is not impossible for one person to be a catalyst for change.

Here is a list of a few films that may spark some inspiration:

• Inherit the Wind
• Iron Jawed Angels
• Schindler’s List
• Gandhi
• Milk
• Julia/Julia
• Norma Rae
• Braveheart
• People vs. Larry Flynt
• Salt of the Earth
• Matewan
• Erin Brockovich
• Ansel Adams: American Experience (documentary)
• Eleanor Roosevelt: American Experience (documentary)
• Walt: The Man Behind the Myth (documentary)
• Tesla: Master of Lightning (documentary)
• Mark Twain (documentary)
• U.S. vs John Lennon (documentary)

Andrea Steele
Freethought Film Festival Foundation

Friday, October 30, 2009

Melding Mediums for Movement

A printable version of this article is available here:

Searching online for short films that are already posted on the Web and are freethought related has been a lot of fun for me. It certainly does not feel like work! Because there are so many different subject possibilities for this niche, the film links that I have so far selected to put on the Freethought Film Festival Foundation Discussion Forum are as diverse and unique as freethinkers themselves.

Promoting the core ideas of freethought such as reason, critical thinking and freedom of inquiry, has been primarily accomplished through print, lectures and debates. While many freethinkers enjoy reading and attending conferences, many—quite frankly—are uninterested in Ingersoll and ID debates. They are not necessarily any less cerebral than the aforementioned, but their brand of freethought may be entirely personal and reflected in their everyday choices…sans Darwin fish and Hitchens books. It is likely that many have never even heard the term “freethinker”.

As much as Academics may cringe, it must be acknowledged that freethought ideas will reach a much, much broader audience through arts and entertainment. Freethinkers who are currently active participants in the freethought movement should embrace a melding of the past and the present and support the creative and artistic expression of reason as well as the publications and seminars.

Visiting some of the links to the short films that have been posted in the FFFF Discussion Forum and the FFFF Facebook page, will result in a better understanding of the artistic expression to which I am referring. Often this expression can be subtle and symbolic, and for those who prefer their philosophy in black and white, this angle may not always be appreciated. Fortunately there are freethinkers of all sorts who can not only appreciate equations, atoms and primordial ooze; but also appreciate the more whimsical, artistic and diverse creativity of the human mind.

Andrea Steele

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It's Just Knot Right

Last week I was granted the opportunity to shadow the Chairperson of Volunteers for the Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. I was able to observe the management of the volunteers during the event, as well as help set up before film screenings and clean up after. The TIGLFF is in their 20th year, and has streamlined the process for managing their film festival. I observed a well-oiled machine. The screening events appeared to seamlessly run themselves; an obvious result of effective pre-planning on the part of the directors. I am extremely appreciative of TIGLFF for allowing me the opportunity to learn from them.

One day during the festival, I helped set up and weigh down tents, and moved chairs, tables and rope posts from the lobby to the sidewalk. I was the only female among the volunteers at the time. The group that helped out that particular afternoon was a gay men's softball team. We all worked together to make sure the front of the theatre was ready for the day’s festivities.

When setting up the event tents, weights were needed to ensure that the wind would not carry them through the streets of downtown Tampa. The lead volunteer instructed all of us to tie the weights to the tents with a quick-release knot. I knew exactly what he meant, as I frequently camp with my family. The looks on the rest of the volunteers’ faces quickly revealed that they had no idea what he was talking about. He recognized their confusion, and demonstrated how to make the knot.

We proceeded to thread the ropes of the weights through the frames of the tents. I tied on the weights with which I was working, and peripherally observed the confusion around me as the rest of the volunteers struggled with tying the knots for their own weights. Making my way to each distressed man, I offered my assistance and tied the remainder of the knots. I received much gratitude from them for helping.

When all of the outside equipment was completely set up, we all took a break inside the air-conditioned lobby of the Tampa Theatre. As I sat and enjoyed my bottled water and the cool air, it occurred to me that an obvious detail eluded me when I was assisting the other volunteers with their knots…These men could not tie a knot, because none of them were ever allowed in the Boy Scouts!

Andrea Steele
Executive Director
Freethought Film Festival Foundation

Thursday, October 8, 2009

For many years, the three most common questions raised by freethinkers have been: 1.) What can we do to encourage young adults to become more active in the Freethought movement? 2.) How can freethought ideas gain more exposure? and 3.) Why can’t all of the freethought organizations out there play together? Attendees at the 2009 AAI Convention raised these concerns—again. All of the aforementioned issues have a solution in the International Freethought Film Festival. Filmmakers are encouraged to reexamine views about freethought subject matter being taboo, and overcome this misconception by expressing these ideas through the art of filmmaking. Student filmmakers have an incentive to submit films that reflect the mission of the Freethought Film Festival Foundation through competition for scholarship awards, and a chance for their projects to be screened for a public audience. Film is more far-reaching and will result in exposure…more so than print, which generally leans toward a more academic audience rather than the general public. Finally, with at least ten different blocks of film screenings throughout the weekend-long International Freethought Film Festival event, freethought organizations, businesses and individuals have an opportunity to sponsor one or more of the screenings. (Or become a major sponsor of the event for more exclusive advertising benefits) The International Freethought Film Festival is common ground, despite variations in existing freethought institutions. Some freethinkers, with whom I have communicated, expressed disappointment that the International Freethought Film Festival will be taking place some distance from them. For most, travelling hundreds, or even thousands of miles for any event may be logistically impossible. This is perfectly understandable. However, we need to recall 2002 on a very cold November morning, when more than 2000 freethinkers participated in the Godless Americans March on Washington. I drove from Tampa to D.C. with my husband and three children to participate in this event. It was very important for us to be a part of an event that gave us visibility and encouraged solidarity among freethinkers. It was one specific event with a common goal. The International Freethought Film Festival encourages the same solidarity that freethinkers displayed at GAMOW. The event itself will, no doubt, increase visibility; but it goes far beyond the actual event. The films being produced will be around for posterity; paving the way for stigmas to dilute over time. Freethinkers around the globe, who know that they will not be able to attend the International Freethought Film Festival event in Tampa, Florida in November 2010, can still recognized its importance and lend their support by contributing to the efforts of the Freethought Film Festival Foundation. To all other freethinkers, the latter also applies; however, if more than 2000 freethinkers can flock to D.C. on a frigid November weekend for a march on the Mall, they can surely migrate to Tampa (where it is gorgeous in November) for a film festival that reflects their views, and answers the most important question of all: How can we promote the growth of the Freethought movement?

Andrea Steele
Executive Director/Chairperson
Freethought Film Festival Foundation

Monday, September 28, 2009

Promoting FFFF at the AAI Convention This Weekend

We have registered as a vendor at the Atheist Alliance International Convention. The convention is taking place this weekend in Los Angeles. We will have brochures available, and will be networking with freethinkers from around the globe. This is an exciting opportunity for us to promote our mission and rally support. If you are going to be in attendance, stop by our table and say hi.

The next issue of Secular Nation Magazine, published by Atheist Alliance International, will include a promo ad for FFFF. I am not certain if it will be out by the conference, but it would be great if it is! The ad announces our Call for Submissions.

Speaking of which, a submission form is now available on our Website. We will accept film submissions starting October 1st. Our Withoutabox partnership is not yet activated, but will be available as soon as contributions and memberships increase and we have the funds for the activation fee...any assistance with this would be greatly appreciated. Withoutabox is THE place where filmmakers go to submit their films to film festivals worldwide. It is associated with IMDB and has an extremely large reach.

Andrea Steele
Chairperson/Executive Director
Freethought Film Festival Foundation

Monday, September 21, 2009

Expectation for the Eclectic

A printable (.pdf) version of this article is available at the following link:

September 21, 2009
By Andrea Steele

TAMPA— On the homepage of the Freethought Film Festival Foundation Website, there is a list of film topic examples that would fall under the category of “freethought”. It consists of a broad range of subjects, and many, many more could be added. At first glance, one might think that the only films that could touch on these subjects are documentaries. However, this is the furthest thing from reality.

Documentaries will certainly be among the film inclusions for the Freethought Film Festival; but the potential for an eclectic program goes way beyond. Independent filmmakers are some of the most creative minds on the globe. There is no doubt that the diversity of angles from which these minds take on the subject matter will be most impressive, entertaining and enlightening.

Some of the films will be non-fiction; some dramatic. Comedic approaches to the subjects, as well as fictitious story-lines and animation will be among the genres presented. The competitive categories for the Freethought Film Festival include Shorts by student filmmakers (either non-animated or animated), and Features by student filmmakers. The filmmakers who submit their films in these categories will be competing for scholarship awards. In the non-competitive categories, Animated Shorts and Non-animated Shorts are open to all filmmakers; while the non-competitive category for Features is open to more seasoned filmmakers. The films that best reflect the mission of the Freethought Film Festival Foundation in the non-competitive categories will receive Honorable Mention awards.

In a conversation with a leader of one of the largest freethought organizations in the U.S., it was disclosed to me that over this past summer, he was approached by freethinking filmmakers at least once a week regarding projects that they have recently completed, and/or on which they were currently working. They had no idea what to do with these films! Now there exists an opportunity for their work to be screened and appreciated by a growing audience of those who value a rational approach to life.

Film enthusiasts, regardless of their preferred niche, appreciate novelty as well as creativity. This novelty is one factor that motivates their viewing choices. It would be to the detriment of any film festival to pigeon-hole its selection of films to only one genre. (There is an assumption here that readers understand the difference between genre and niche.) This is why supporters and potential patrons of the Freethought Film Festival should expect a well balanced, diverse program. The freethought topic examples list is long, and the possibilities are immeasurable.

Andrea Steele
Chairperson/Executive Director
Freethought Film Festival Foundation

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"Creation"...Too Controversial for America's Feeble Minds

When it was brought to my attention that Hanway Films was having difficulty securing a U.S. distributor for its film "Creation", I was disappointed. The plot of the film, as listed on IMDb is:
"English naturalist Charles Darwin struggles to find a balance between his revolutionary theories on evolution and the relationship with religious wife, whose faith contradicts his work."
A summary of the movie can be read at the following link:

Film distributors in the U.S. apparently find this too controversial for American film patrons. REALLY? This film already has distribution rights around the globe...but not here. Must America be consistently "lag-edelic" by being the last among developed countries to embrace social progress and diversity of thought?

An e-mail was sent to Hanway Films to request consideration for "Creation" to be screened at the Freethought Film Festival in November 2010. As of now, the production company continues its effort in securing a distributor in the United States. If a distributor picks up "Creation", then it would not be possible to screen the film at our festival without a lease. As much as I would like to screen "Creation" at the Freethought Film Festival, I hope it is soon picked up by a distributor and proves to be successful in a U.S. market that is perceived to be full of feeble minds.

If you would like compose an e-mail in support of this film, the e-mail address for Hanway films is:

Andrea Steele

Chairperson/Executive Director

Freethought Film Festival Foundation, Inc.

P.O. Box 3474

Brandon, FL 33509

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The FFFF Word is Spreading

The word about the mission of the Freethought Film Festival Foundation is starting to reach freethinkers across the country. This week, FFFF is the "Interest O' the Week" at! So, the folks at Evolvefish are now endorsing our efforts; as well as local, state, national and international organizations. The number of unique visitors to the FFFF Website increases each day.

This week has been spent sending countless faxes to potential supporters, replying to e-mails, creating literature and continuing to add content to the FFFF Website.

The Freethought Film Festival Foundation was formed to host a first-rate Freethought Film Festival. Make no mistake...this is not going to be an afternoon screening of a few existing films that might have freethinking undertones in a public library meeting room. This film festival is our only focus, so we can make this event like no other. The plan is laid out, the leg-work is being done, but we need the support from members of the freethought community to help realize this vision.

Andrea Steele
Chairperson/Executive Director
Freethought Film Festival Foundation

Sunday, September 6, 2009

On the term "freethought"...let's clear this up

There is a reason why the word "freethought" comes up as a misspelled word in every spell check. It is because the words in the dictionary sense are not fused together. Taking the word "freethinking" in a literal term instead of realizing that freethought (merged) for the purpose of FFFF has to do with questioning truth-claims (including questioning things that are considered sacred to individuals).

It is a common mistake when first introduced to the word. Many people have never heard the term "freethought" before and initially take the word, break it down and take it literally. "Well if I am a free-thinker, I am free to think whatever I want."...Of course we can think anything we want. (we just can't always say what we are thinking-another topic) What those people have not yet learned is that there is a "movement", if you will, of people who have coined the word "freethinker" in their own terms. The range of ideas of a "freethinker", in this sense, includes anything from investigating acupuncture, to questioning the existence of Zeus.

Freethought encompasses a broad range of individual ideas. There is a long list on the Home page of the FFFF Website of freethought film topic examples. Deists are freethinkers, Quakers are freethinkers, Skeptics are freethinkers, religious humanists are freethinkers, agnostics are freethinkers...the list goes on...The FFFF's mission is to "promote critical thinking, reason and freedom of inquiry through the medium of film".

Those who do not understand the term "freethought" after reading this blog or additional research about freethinkers; and still cannot get past the fact that freethought (in the actual, not literal sense of the word), includes the critical examination of something that may be sacred to her or him; then the mission of the Freethought Film Festival Foundation might not be something that individual feels he or she can's all good.

Andrea Steele
Chairperson/Executive Director
Freethought Film Festival Foundation

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Yesterday I spent 8 hours filling out form f1023. This is one of the forms that must be submitted for the Freethought Film Festival Foundation to be considered for approval of 501(c) 3 exemption as a non-profit, charitable, educational organization that would make contributions to FFFF tax-deductible for our donors. Although even after 8 hours of filling out the form and writing all of the necessary explanatory attachments, I am not yet finished...but I am close! The only part I have yet to complete is Section H. This has to be filled out since FFFF is going to be awarding scholarships to filmmakers enrolled in an accredited college or university or attending high school, whose film was selected for screening for the film festival, and is the best of the best in their category.

The International Humanist and Ethical Union has become an official endorser of the Freethought Film Festival Foundation. Their logo and link can be found on our Endorsers page on the FFFF Website.

Andrea Steele
Chairperson/Executive Director
Freethought Film Festival Foundation

Thursday, September 3, 2009

FFFF's 1st Film Sponsor

The Freethought Film Festival Foundation is excited to report that we have our first Film Sponsor. The American Humanist Association has agreed to sponsor a film in the Freethought Film Festival; tentatively scheduled for November 2010. AHA is very enthusiastic about the potential of this event, and has expressed the willingness to support us in other capacities as well. We are thrilled to have this organization assist us in our efforts. We look forward to involving others as well.

The Freethought Film Festival Foundation is in the process of registering the Freethought Film Festival with Withoutabox to use their platform to receive film submissions online. An application has been submitted, and we are waiting to be contacted by a Withoutabox representative so they can determine whether or not their services are a good fit for us.

Film submission fees and general guidelines have been added to the FFFF Website. We are not yet calling for submissions, but the call is coming very soon.

Jennifer Wiley, one of the board members of the Freethought Film Festival Foundation, found a great quote that applies well to the Freethought Film Festival:

"An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come." Victor Hugo

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Today's FFFF Efforts: "Behind the Scenes" Circle

On this fine day I added the Freethought Film Festival Foundation information regarding the many levels of support opportunities to the FFFF Website. Also added to our Web presence is an extensive list of topics that would fall under the realm of freethought...I am positive that much, much more could be added to the list.

The Freethought Film Festival Foundation will be calling for submissions from student filmmakers at the collegiate level, as well as high school. The call will be for both features and shorts. The Freethought Film Festival will screen selected films from college filmmakers' features, college filmmakers' shorts and high-school filmmaker's shorts submissions. Scholarship awards will be presented to the best of the best in each of these categories. There will also be an opportunity for filmmakers with more experience to submit their films for a chance to be screened in our non-competitive categories for features and shorts. More details on film submission guidelines will be posted in the near future as we progress with our efforts.

Andrea Steele
Chairperson/Executive Director
Freethought Film Festival Foundation

Monday, August 31, 2009

Successful Initial FFFF Board of Directors Meeting

This evening was the first Freethought Film Festival Foundation Board of Directors meeting. In attendance was Vice Chairperson, Rebecca Collins; Secretary, Jennifer Wiley; and myself. We went over our initial corporate documents, approved the bylaws and budget, and discussed the mission of FFFF and how we as board members will promote that mission.

The enthusiasm of the board will be clearly reflected in our attention to detail in the planning and fundraising efforts moving forward. Included in the plans that were approved, is the "Behind the Scenes" Contributors' Circle. The BTS Circle includes levels from Individual Circle Contributor to Star Sponsorship. The benefits range from discount tickets to being a part of the film selection process. There are many contribution levels from which to choose.

It is exciting to be a part of this program. We all agree that we hold an expectation for the Freethought Film Festival event to be first rate. The Board of Directors of FFFF will work diligently toward that goal.

Andrea Steele
Chairperson/Executive Director
Freethought Film Festival Foundation

Sunday, August 30, 2009

FFFF Budget Projection is Finished

I have put close to 20 hours in two days into creating a budget plan for the first year of the Freethought Film Festival Foundation. The projected expenses for the Freethought Film Festival and operational costs have been well researched. The proposed budget will be discussed at our Board of Directors meeting tomorrow evening. If I left anything out, we'll make adjustments. Today I will be working on the FFFF bylaws so that they will be ready for the meeting. Our "Behind the Scenes" Contributors' Circle levels will also be discussed. If the proposed levels are approved, I will be adding this information to the FFFF Website this upcoming week.

Travel may be in my future, as I recently learned of the Atheist Alliance International Conference in L.A.. Attending this event would be a phenomenal networking opportunity for the Freethought Film Festival Foundation. The timing couldn't be better...nor could the location!...Seriously! Oh, and incidentally...Bill Maher will be in attendance.

Andrea Steele
Chairperson/Executive Director
FreethoughtFilm Festival Foundation

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Intro Press Release and Such

Today I tackled multiple tasks in the promotion of FFFF. Three endorsements were confirmed and added to a new FFFF Endorsements Webpage. Atheists Alliance International, Atheists of Florida (a local branch of AAI) and The Infidel Guy Show are official endorsers of the efforts of the Freethought Film Festival Foundation. An introductory press release was authored by me and sent to the newsrooms of six local media outlets. The press release was also sent to several national organizations that champion reason; and I also added it to the FFFF Website.

I received two very informative calls back from insurance companies with which I left messages yesterday, and I now have a figure on liability insurance that I can add to the projected expenses for FFFF. A budget of projected expenses, revenue, ect. will be ready for the FFFF Board of Directors meeting next week.

The perfect ending to a great day of working on that which I am passionate....watching the finale episode of Penn & Teller's Bullshit about the Vatican with my family.

Andrea Steele
Chairperson/Executive Director
Freethought Film Festival Foundation

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy

Today was spent researching many, many, many other film festivals. In addition to research, I combed through the venue rental guidelines and fees, wrote a proposed event schedule so that I could project how many films are needed, and went over so many numbers that my eyes were crossing by the time I finally had to stop to feed my family dinner. I also called several different insurance companies that deal with non-profits to get quotes on Common General Liability insurance for the event. It is important to know the premium at this juncture so that the cost can be added to the FFFF budget.

Included in today's planning was proposed entry fees for film submissions, length of film submissions, and categories. Projected revenue from entry fees, and ticket and event passes were assessed. The projections are very conservative from just these two sources of revenue, and so far the numbers are in the black. Not yet factored are projected contributions, sponsorships, grants and memberships.

The most important element of this organization is the establishment of a scholarship fund. The student filmmakers who are courageous enough to break through the status quo in order to champion reason through their art, should be awarded when their films exhibit excellence to this affect. That is why the contributions of individuals, organizations and foundations are vital to this endeavor.

While I perused the Websites of at least a dozen film festivals today, I was encouraged by the fact that there were so many patrons of the art of moving pictures. FFFF has a unique goal in its attempt at nudging freethought into an established genre of film. If this is a cause in which you personally feel would benefit the promotion of critical thinking, reason and freedom of inquiry in our culture, please consider a contribution to the Freethought Film Festival Foundation.

Andrea Steele
Chairperson/Executive Director
Freethought Film Festival Foundation

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

FFFF Is Official

The Freethought Film Festival Foundation has filed its Articles of Incorporation with the State of Florida and is officially a non-profit corporation. The FFFF Board of Directors is working on the necessary language to include in the bylaws to file for 501(c)(3) status. A "Behind the Scenes Contributors' Circle" is an idea in the works for those who would like to advance the mission of the FFFF once 501(c)(3) status is granted. Contributions to the FFFF will then be tax deductible.

Look us up on Facebook, become a Fan and use that "Share" button to help spread the word.

Andrea Steele
Chairperson/Executive Director
Freethought Film Festival Foundation

Monday, August 24, 2009

FFFF Board of Directors Established

The first Freethought Film Festival Foundation Board of Directors has been established. FFFF's initial board is made up of three Directors. The titles for the Directors are Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, and Secretary. The articles of incorporation have been written, and upon board approval, will be filed with the state of Florida to establish FFFF as a non-profit organization.

FFFF Board members include myself-Andrea Steele-as Chairperson/Executive Director, Rebecca Collins as Vice-Chairperson, and Jennifer Wiley as Secretary. I look forward to working with Rebecca and Jennifer to launch this organization and move forward on its mission. Bios of the FFFF Board of Directors are not yet available, but I would like to include this information on the FFFF Website by the end of the week if we are all in agreement.

Andrea Steele
Chairperson/Executive Director
Freethought Film Festival Foundation

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Public and Challenging Cinema

With the production of major motion pictures that prove to be a fantastical escape for moviegoers, one might wonder how any film produced with the intent to enlightening can ever hope to compete in such a realm. The release of thought provoking movies like "Religulous", "An Inconvenient Truth", "Farenheit 9/11", "Supersize Me", "Sicko", "Food, Inc.", and films that shed light on little known history such as "W.", "Frost/Nixon" and "Milk", reveals that the public is not shying away from challenging cinema.

While these movies' earnings did not compare to the likes of "The Lord of the Rings", their box office grosses were nothing at which to scoff. With DVD rental programs like Netflix and movies on demand via cable boxes, gaming systems and fiber optics; social, cultural and historical documentaries and independent films are more accessible than ever before. Subject matter that may seem too personal for someone to be seen viewing in a theater can be viewed in the privacy of one's home with the added option of pausing and discussing at will.

With this in mind, filmmakers who would like to see the advancement of critical thinking, reason, scientifically supported social change, and the freedom to question tradition and authority, should be encouraged by these technological mediums through which their art can be accessed. There is an established audience for these sorts of films. There are also many quiet and curious consumers of thoughtful pieces who may be waiting for the subject matter to become less controversial.

Challenging cinema is in a league of its own. Opening up a new genre of film making that reflects freethinking philosophies can have a valuable impact on how the public views the non-theistic, non-religious, non-conventional, and non-conforming individuals in our society. Exposure to personal stories and entertaining presentations of controversial subjects has the potential to foster a shift from emotional to rational and encourage dialogue. The number of moviegoers recorded to have attended such aforementioned films shows that the public is not shy about films that challenge their current perspectives. Filmmakers, in turn, should not be shy about producing that which may be controversial--but which is also in demand.

Andrea Steele
Chairperson/Executive Director
Freethought Film Festival Foundation

Monday, August 17, 2009

First Freethought Video Scavenger Hunt Extended

The first FFFF Freethought Video Scavenger Hunt has been extended to August 30th, 2009. You must register by midnight Friday, August 28th to participate.
For guidelines and how to participate visit the following link:

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Promoting Education and an Art

A unique aspect of the FFFF is that it will be reaching out to young film makers to encourage them to use their talent to specifically produce films to promote reason. I want to accomplish this by creating a scholarship fund for awarding outstanding film makers whose work will be screened at the Freethought Film Festival(s). A scholarship award will support the educational endeavors of fledgling freethinkers, and encourage them to express a voice of reason through their art of film making.

FFFF is going to be making calls for film submissions to university film departments when the venue has been secured and a scholarship fund is established. If you know of any philanthropist whose passion is film, send her or him our way. Those who choose to interpret life through natural and scientific means and are wondering what they could do as an individual to help buffer the bombardment of superstitious thinking can make an important impact by contributing to the FFFF Scholarship Fund.

Future producers, directors, scriptwriters, actors and the like, will undoubtedly play a major role in shaping the minds of the next generation; just as the film industry is doing today. Film is a powerful medium for education (and unfortunately misinformation) as well as entertainment, and we need to encourage the creation of films that counter the status quo. The Freethought Film Festival Foundation is a means to realize such encouragement of critical thinking, education and art through film.

Andrea Steele
Chairperson/Executive Director
Freethought Film Festival Foundation

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Thrilled to Learn of a Similar Successful Event!

I just found out that an Atheist Film Festival took place in San Francisco this past June! Eagerly I await a response to an e-mail I sent to the founder/producer of that event to learn of its success. My hope is to gain some tips on making the planning and execution of the Freethought Film Festival as smooth as possible.

The content on the About page of the FFFF Website was added this morning. I feel better.

I received more positive feedback today from another organization who is willing to assist in promoting the Freethought Film Festival. I am awaiting permission to add their link to the FFFF Links page under "Supporters".

Andrea Steele
Chairperson/Executive Director
Freethought Film Festival Foundation

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Launched Website & Sought Support

Half of today was spent on reaching out to organizations with whom I worked in the past. They were informed of the FFFF mission and asked for their endorsement of the project. I received some positive feedback from one group and learned of a local coalition in the works...quite timely.

The second half of the day was spent building the FFFF Webpage. I wasn't able to add all of the content that I wanted to today, but I plan on adding more tomorrow. Back in March, I made a FFFF needs list. (I refuse to call it a wish list) That was one of the main things I wanted to publish on the site but I just didn't have time...tomorrow I will add it.

I would very much like to share detailed plans of this event, but at this stage I want to be certain that I have support of the freethought community to make this a success. Incorporation is the first goal, and this will occur when funds are raised for the filing fees. The Freethought Video Scavenger Hunt is the first effort toward this goal. I hope it catches on.

Andrea Steele
Chairperson/Executive Director
Freethought Film Festival Foundation

Monday, August 10, 2009

FFFF Will Promote Freethought From Many Angles

I have had the idea of organizing a Freethought Film Festival since 2002. At about the same time that I became a freethought activist, I also became a fan of independent films. The Tampa Theatre became my church, and my favorite annual event became the IFC Film Festival. Inspiration filled me after I attended these film festivals, and I have had this ember inside of me ever since my being introduced to independent films.

The Freethought Film Festival project is one that I am confident will be well received by others who value critical thinking, reason, and a non-superstitious view of our world. Not only is it a focused means through which freethought ideas can be presented to the public, but it also encourages artistic expression--a treasured humanist value. With the popularity of the movie "Religulous", and the increased visibility in the media of freethinking public figures and ideas, I think that there has never been a better time than now to make this happen.

Film makers will have a motivation to take on subject matter from which they might have passed due to social pressure. It is well known within rationalist realms that the freethinking demographic is disproportionately "mature". The Freethought Film Festival will have particular focus toward the younger generation, as a scholarship award is one of the goals of the FFFF. Young artists will be given a clear message that it is quite acceptable to question tradition for the sake of tradition, and be encouraged to portray the importance of critical thinking and freedom of inquiry through their film making talents.

A Freethought Film Festival will reach out to the next generation of freethinkers through a medium that this culture loves. Film entertains, illuminates, and educates, and it would provide great benefit to the freethought movement if this project was embraced by those who want to see it strengthen AND GROW.

Andrea Lynn Steele
Chairperson/Executive Director
Freethought Film Festival Foundation