Steamboat Institute’s Freedom Conference features new films, paintings by former President George W. Bush |

Steamboat Institute’s Freedom Conference features new films, paintings by former President George W. Bush

This year's Freedom Conference, an annual event hosted but the conservative-leaning Steamboat Institute, will be held in Beaver Creek, not Steamboat Springs, as a result of local COVID-19 restrictions.
Matt Stensland
If you go: What: Steamboat Institute Film Festival: “Let There Be Light” When: 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 26 Where: Chief Theater, 813 Lincoln Ave. If you go: What: Free concert by Jon Gibbs and Colter Christensen When: 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 26 Where: Gondola Stage, Steamboat Ski Area

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Institute’s ninth annual Freedom Conference and Festival will feature an inaugural film festival Saturday.

“We really wanted a way to show films that are inspiring and elevate the human spirit,” said Jennifer Schubert-Akin, CEO, chairman and co-founder of The Steamboat Institute. “There are multiple ways to be inspired and one of those ways is by hearing a story or watching a film that inspires you to make the most of your life and to not be a victim.”

“Amazing Grace,” a film based on the story of William Wilberforce, an English politician who became the voice of the abolition movement in Parliament, was shown Thursday night followed by a discussion with one of the filmmakers, Dr. Robert Beltz.

The premiere of the newly released “Let There Be Light,” produced by Sean Hannity, will screen at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Chief Theater. The film follows the life of a successful atheist author and speaker played by Kevin Sorbo. The event will also feature remarks by Sam Sorbo, co-star and co-producer of the film.

Schubert-Akin said organizers hope to grow the film festival to a multi-day event.

Another new addition to the conference this year is the showing of 10 paintings by George W. Bush as part of his “Portraits of Courage” collection. This will be the first time the former president’s artwork will be on display in Colorado.

However, the exhibit is only open to those registered for the conference.

“The fact that we got his work here is really incredible,” said Schubert-Akin. “As much as we would’ve loved to show this to the public, we can’t due to space and security concerns.”

Bush’s art is an exploration of his time as commander-in-chief and includes portraits of wounded veterans and his perspective of the men and women he encountered.

“Despite what people thought of him as a president, the fact that he painted these as an expression of how he felt about these world leaders he worked with is something really special to see,” said Schubert-Akin.

In addition, the Steamboat Institute will auction a copy of Bush’s book “Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors,” which was published in February and signed by Bush as part of the organization’s fundraising efforts.

A free concert by Jon Gibbs and Colter Christensen from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday at the Gondola Stage will close out the festival. The concert is open to the public.

Both films are also free and open to the public. All donations will go to STARS — Steamboat Adaptive Recreational Sports.

For a full schedule of events, visit

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1.

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