Hot Docs 2014: The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz (2014)
Aaron Swartz seemed to be born for the internet. At 13, much to the ultimate surprise of his colleagues, he worked on the ubiquitous RSS and XML technologies and eventually helped co-author the Creative Commons License. Swartz was, without a doubt, a prodigy. Like all prodigies his future seemed limitless and like many prodigies, his future turned out to be tragically limited. The Internet’s Own Boy, directed by Brian Knappenberger (We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists), is the lovingly, elegiac chronicle of Swartz’s rise and fall.
The Internet’s Own Boy and the story of Swartz calls to mind that old saw about one’s biggest fault is caring too much. Swartz did care too much. While his likewise talented peers chased dollars in the internet’s wild west phase, he chased change for the greater good. Swartz consistently focused on freedom – freedom of information, freedom to control your own data – culminating in the victorious opposition to SOPA and PIPA. Unfortunately, an unswerving dedication to free access to information can ruffle a lot of powerful feathers, and Swartz found himself charged with an astronomical number of felonies. Threatened, broke, and hounded with the possibility of serious jail time, Swartz took his own life.
Swartz’s story is an impossibly sad one, but The Internet’s Own Boy deserves much credit for veering toward the moving and the inspirational rather than the tragic. The loss of Aaron Swartz is incalculable, but Knappenberger is more interested in celebrating what he accomplished and spurring others to pursue the same path.
Screening Times for The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz
Bloor Hot Docs Cinema Thu, Apr 24 10:00 PM
Bloor Hot Docs Cinema Fri, Apr 25 2:00 PM
Watch The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz Teaser Trailer
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit hotdocs.ca.