Friday 15.08.14, 22:00
The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz (Screenings)

Documentary story of an American visionary and Internet activist by director Brian Knappenberger 













Aaron Swartz is an American Internet activist, a visionary of cutting-edge technology, who committed suicide last January. He was 26. Already at the age of 12, Swartz launched his own project TheInfo (Wikipedia’s predecessor). Later, he participated in the development of the projects, without which it’s now impossible to visualize the contemporary Internet landscape: Reddit, RSS, Creative Commons, and Open Library.

Swartz’s activities were aimed at opening public access to the information. In particular, he fought against online censorship and created the Watchdog website to collect the data on the US politicians, became the co-founder of the Demand Progress group, which helped to protect civil liberties. And afterwards, criminal action was initiated against the activist, after he had downloaded millions of academic works – all despite the fact that he wasn’t going to profit from it, just believing that information and knowledge should be accessible for everyone. The hacked electronic library dropped the claim, but the prosecution continued to threaten the activist with years behind bars.

The last battle won by Swartz became the widely-known blocking of SOPA legislation, which contradicted the contemporary concept of free Internet. After his death, Aaron Swartz became for many the symbol of the fight against the US “state machinery.”

Among the film’s characters – the inventor of the Internet Tim Berners-Lee, Canadian blogger, human rights activist and ‘Wired’ author Cory Doctorow, Stanford university professor and founder of Creative Commons Laurence Lessig.

The international premiere of ‘The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz’ took place at the Sundance Festival, and in June 2014, the documentary hit the US screens.

The film’s director is Brian Knappenberger, who shot ‘WE ARE LEGION: The Story of the Hacktivists’ a few years ago, and is well acquainted with the subject. The main question the director asks is reflected in the quotation by abolitionist Henry David Thoreau which serves as an epigraph to the film, “Unjust laws exist; shall we be content to obey them?”

Screening’s organizers: Beat Films, widely known for the annual Beat Film Festival, international festival of documentaries on music, and Apparat magazine, online media about the new society, launched at the beginning of July.

The film was translated with the support of the professional translation service