As they express themselves, or give a voice to the oppressed, American INSIGHT encourages filmmakers to consider what free speech and the rule of law really mean.
The Free Speech Film Festival and Free Speech Award were developed over a period of years by university student Interns enrolled in American INSIGHT’s Internship Program, based upon their detailed research into the history of Free Speech.
American INSIGHT’s Free Speech Film Festival is unique in several respects:
- We select and promote only one Free Speech Award-winning film each year, giving stronger recognition to the winning film and filmmaker;
- We focus exclusively on deepening the understanding of free speech and the rule of law, with a goal of practicing, promoting and preserving their principles worldwide;
- We include high-visibility speakers to promote the personal and political importance free speech, and to enhance the Free Speech Award-winning filmmaker and film.
The Free Speech Award Ceremony provides an opportunity for the filmmaker to supplement their film with their own personal story. Accompanied by other prominent individuals, filmmakers share what free speech means to them with the global community. The winning film is linked in perpetuity to American INSIGHT’s interactive educational Free Speech Storyline, which traces the history of individuals who fought for their rights back to the signing of the English Magna Carta in 1215.
The winner of American INSIGHT’s 2012 Free Speech Award was “Free China: The Courage to Believe” directed by Michael Perlman and produced by Kean Wong. This was the film’s first award. The film has since won eight other festivals, and been screened by governments around the world, raising consciousness for human rights in China.
American INSIGHT’s 2013 Free Speech Award was given to Israeli-American director Joseph Ohayon’s film “Crossroads: Labor Pains of a New Worldview.” According to Mr. Ohayon, “The film reveals the inner workings of the human experience in the 21st century, urging viewers to step out of the box and challenge their own assumptions about who we really are, and why we do what we do.” It provides a positive message about the power of cooperation and collaboration. The film has been translated into 17 languages, and watched online by hundreds of thousands of people.
The Free Speech Film Festival culminates in a multimedia FREE SPEECH AWARD CEREMONY that features well-known politicians, artists, scholars, writers, and civic leaders speaking about what Free Speech means to them, in addition to showcasing American INSIGHT’s final Free Speech Award-winning film and its filmmakers. Past speakers include:
Bob Craig, Jazz Host, WRTI, Philadelphia, introduced “Smooth Jazz,” while hosting a Sunday morning show on WMGK in Boston
Karen Curry, Executive Director, Kal and Lucille Rudman Institute for Entertainment Industry Studies at Drexel University
Gregory Harvey, Esq, Senior Counsel at Montgomery McCracken, Philadelphia, awarded the Judge Learned Hand Human Relations Award of the American Jewish Committee
Mary Anne Huntsman, a classical pianist who has performed throughout Europe, the United States, and Asia
David Kilgour, human rights defender, author, former lawyer and Canadian politician, remains continuously vocal on many human rights violations around the world
Richard Negrin, Deputy Mayor of Administration and Coordination and Managing Director of the City of Philadelphia
Joseph Ohayon, Producer/ Director of “Crossroads: Labor Pains of a New Worldview, “ is a filmmaker, writer and speaker based in Israel and New York
Michael Perlman, Producer/ Executive Producer of “Free China: The Courage to Believe,” is an Amnesty International official Artist For Amnesty
Reggie Shuford, Executive Director, ACLU Philadelphia
Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO of New America; University Professor Emerita of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University
Tanya Steinberg, President & CEO, International House Philadelphia; Treasurer, International Houses WorldWide
C.K. Williams, American poet, critic and translator who has won nearly every major poetry award
Kean Wong, Producer/ Executive Producer “Free China: The Courage to Believe,” human rights activist, TV host, founder of Parigon Partners, a strategy and marketing consulting firm
Samuel Zhou, Deputy Director, Global Internet Freedom Consortium