The international premiere of director Brian Knappenberger’s THE INTERNET’S OWN BOY: THE STORY OF AARON SWARTZ (USA, 2014, 105 min) will open the 2014 Hot Docs Festival on Thursday, April 24. Director Brian Knappenberger will be in attendance to introduce the film and participate in post-screening audience discussions.
“The Internet’s Own Boy is an incredible portrait of one of the greatest and most promising minds of a generation, Aaron Swartz,” says Hot Docs director of programming Charlotte Cook. “Director Brian Knappenberger has told Aaron’s story in a very beautiful and inspiring way, and we are honoured to be able to share it with not only our audience, but hopefully to help continue to share it with the world.”
As a teenager, Aaron Swartz took the Internet community by storm with capabilities, intellect and understanding that matched its most seasoned members. He helped found or develop countless household-name technologies and companies in the time it takes most people finish college. Aaron was a pioneer in Internet activism, and stood at the forefront of the SOPA and PIPA victories. He looked towards a limitless future—but his life took a dramatic turn. In 2011 and 2012, he was indicted by prosecutors who charged him with a staggering number of felonies. Aaron found himself facing 35 years in prison, and at the age of 26 was found dead in his apartment, from an apparent suicide. As we hear from those closest to Aaron, this incredibly inspirational and moving story shows how one of the most promising minds of a generation found himself staring down a government prosecuting him under the very laws he was fighting against.
THE INTERNET’S OWN BOY: THE STORY OF AARON SWARTZ is director Brian Knappenberger’s fourth feature documentary. His third feature documentary, WE ARE LEGION: THE STORY OF THE HACKTIVISTS was an official selection of the 2012 Hot Docs Festival. THE INTERNET’S OWN BOY: THE STORY OF AARON SWARTZ had its world premiere at the 2014 Sundance Festival, where it was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize.