Apparently, some of the attendees at my freethought shorts program a couple weeks ago were "rocked" by the presentation. There were about 20 humanists in attendance at this particular meeting, and I did not ask for demographic information (against my instinct) before I agreed to visit the group. I was at least 20 years younger than 95% of the group. Upon this realization, it was clear that independent films were not likely their forte.

The program of films that I'm presenting to local groups reflects a broad range of freethought ideas, and is a mix of comedy, drama, documentary and animation categories. Some of them are dark; some quirky and fun; and one film in particular is about scientific inquiry into the technological and biological advances in tackling aging and death. (Yep. That was uncomfortable.) That may have been the moment when the audience realized that the films selected were intended for an entirely different demo than what filled the room that evening. Next month, I will be presenting the films to a combined group of atheist/freethought/film student clubs at USF. I am expecting an entirely different reaction from the next generation of freethinkers.

Surely the more seasoned freethinkers can see the importance of the efforts of promoting freethought through art (in this case, independent film). Traditionally, the focus in the freethought movement has been primarily in science and philosophy. (and to be perfectly honest, something close to an exclusive, academia vibe.) These approaches can be fascinating and enlightening, but often bores to tears those who are not "into" attending freethought conventions and/or local meetings. Many freethinkers simply live their lives with private thoughts of reason, and secretly chuckle and/or roll their eyeballs when religious folks do something idiotic and/or impose their religion upon others. Some pick up books by famous freethinkers, but many would also like to see a growth in freethought entertainment.

If you remember the history of the Renaissance, art played a major role in the advancement of reason in Western Cultures. Not only did art frequently pair with science (da Vinci), but it was often the only way to symbolically and secretly express freethought ideals. Freethinkers are capable of combining linear, left-brained thought, with the more creative functions of the bohemian right brain. I am of the opinion that both should be embraced and promoted within the freethought community.

What do you think?

Views: 21

Comment by Andrea Steele on February 27, 2010 at 9:45pm
Thanks for featuring this blog post. :)
Comment by Mario Rodgers on February 28, 2010 at 11:45am
I watch my movies to escape reality so these types of films don't do anything for me. Although I find if a movie deals with religion, I enjoy it better if it made up its own, used religion in a generic sense, or used religion as a punching bag.
Comment by Andrea Steele on February 28, 2010 at 1:07pm
@Mario:
I understand what you mean about escaping reality through movies. There is a common misconception that a freethought film defaults to the documentary category. That is definitely a false perception. Independent filmmakers are some of the most creative people, who come up with fascinating ways to express different ideas through film. This type of expression may not appeal to individuals who are primarily left-brained.

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