Todd Hollenbeck is a man who firmly believes in his ideals, and tries to encourage others to discuss theirs. But it was an idea from his mom that prompted him to use film as a catalyst for such discussion.
After first resisting his mother's urging, the 27-year-old Hollenbeck finally decided to start the Free Minds Film Festival. The inaugural festival will be hosted by the UCCS Chapter of Young Americans for Liberty, of which Hollenbeck — a Woodland Park native studying for an MBA at UCCS — is vice president.
The idea behind it is to promote a free society, which Hollenbeck prefers to define in libertarian terms: Think free markets and voluntary action that follows the "libertarian nonaggression principle." It's those ideas that attracted groups like Americans for Prosperity - Colorado and Front Range Objectivism as sponsors for the event.
"A lot of people don't have time to read political philosophy books," explains Hollenbeck, in talking about the festival. "This way, they can sit and watch an hour-and-a-half documentary, and at least get some interest and get thinking about the ideas."
Though some of the films are international, they were chosen for the themes that relate to issues Hollenbeck sees closer to home. He wants to get people thinking and talking about things like eminent domain, and the people whose houses are being taken to build shopping centers and roads. Hence Free Minds' showing of The Castle, an Australian comedy that focuses on property rights, and The Singing Revolution, which is about the Estonians' use of singing and nonviolent protest in the revolution against the Soviet Union.
After each screening, a prominent speaker will address topics in the film, followed by a question-and-answer session. Speakers include Dr. Yuri Maltsev, a former economic adviser to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev; and producer, journalist and Onion contributor Bob Bowdon, who will talk about his own film that will be shown at the festival, The Cartel.
Following the films on Friday and Saturday nights, a social will be held at BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse, where participants can eat, drink and discuss what they've seen. Hollenbeck hopes to encourage "tavern-style politics" at the socials, where people "talk, be civil, argue and persuade."