The Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) hosted their first Battle in Seattle Film Festival yesterday in the hopes of drawing students away from the common two-party political view, but the turnout was not what they had hoped for.
“It would have been nice to fill up the room,” Steven Heidenreich, the public relations chair of YAL, said, after attendance levels were less than expected.
YAL, the Libertarian political group on campus, was developed three years ago by Mikayla Hall, the current YAL UW chapter adviser. Hall said she created the association when she felt the third voice wasn’t fully represented on campus. Justin Clements, the president of YAL, said the group provides the campus with new political angles from the third-largest party in American politics.
“We want to draw attention away from the two-party system,” Clements said. “We present an alternative viewpoint on campus. Libertarians are fiscally conservative and socially liberal. … We want to show that there are more than Democrats and Republicans.”
That is what the student organization is hoping to do by hosting the film festival.
YAL collaborated with the nonprofit group Student Freedom Project (SFP) from the Evergreen Freedom Foundation (EFF), a nonprofit organization based in Olympia, for the movie screenings. EFP, an educational organization, encourages existing student organizations to engage students in political issues with the goal of getting more students and young people involved in politics.
“We want students to realize that they can have a drastic impact on the electorate and the government,” said Alexander Smith, EFP intern organizer. “If you don’t vote, if you don’t get involved, legislators won’t care about you.”
The films that were shown were: “Indoctrinate U,” which examines the climate of the nation’s campuses; “Do As I Say,” which portrays the alleged hypocrisy of 11 prominent leftist leaders, including Noam Chomsky and Hillary Clinton; “2081,” a film adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron,” which depicts a dystopian future where everyone is equal and the government enforces policies to prevent competition and to eliminate human differences; and “Flunked,” a documentary of what some U.S. schools are doing to counter the nation’s problem of a declining education system.
A discussion followed each viewing to talk about the film and facilitate audience questions. To liven up the festival, YAL invited other student political groups to create a debate-like feeling for the event. Hall invited UW associations such as the Young Democrats and College Republicans, people she said she normally disagrees with, to educate each other on each other’s viewpoints and have a more engaging discussion.
“What we get on this campus is just bias teaching,” Hall said. “We won’t be able to solve pressing issues if we don’t take the time to talk things through, allowing all sides to talk.”
The director for the film “Flunked,” Corey Burres, attended the festival and talked about the America’s education system the issue his film raises. “The guy was just a really cool, positive guy,” Heidenreich said. “He doesn’t think education reform should be a left or right issues.”
After the event, people that had attended were excited about the films. “A lot of people were asking where to get these films,” Heidenreich said. “The films just really varied, there were a big mix of emotion.”
For Heidenreich, despite the night’s disappointing turnout, the whole event went smoothly and successfully. “I definitely left in a good mood.”
Reach reporter Rebecca Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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