As a teenager, Aaron Swartz was a computer-programming prodigy with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. After emerging as a pioneer of Internet activism, education, and politics, he was indicted on multiple federal charges in 2011 and 2012, setting off a complex chain of events that left the Internet community reeling. Shortly thereafter, at the age of 26, Swartz was found dead of an apparent suicide in his Brooklyn apartment. His family, friends, and supporters immediately blamed the prosecutors of the case, who aimed to put him in jail for 35 years and brand him a convicted felon for life. Swartz was persecuted for the very rights and freedoms for which he stood, and that ultimately broke him.
Weaving together home video footage and anecdotal interviews from his closest confidants, Brian Knappenberger creates a dynamic portrait of a precocious boy who grew up to lead the Internet community into a new age of data sharing and free speech. - R.K.
About the Director
Brian Knappenberger has created multiple award-winning documentaries, including We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists about the online hacktivist nongroup Anonymous; Life After War about political tensions in postwar Afghanistan; and A Murder in Kyiv about the death of a Ukrainian journalist, reportedly at the hands of government officials. He has crafted numerous other documentaries for PBS's Frontline/World, the National Geographic Society, Bloomberg News, and the Discovery Channel.
Cast and Credits
Director: Brian Knappenberger
Screenwriter: Brian Knappenberger
Executive Producer: Brian Knappenberger
Composer: John Dragonetti
Associate Producers: Denise Gaberman, Jeffrey Kanjanapangka, Suzanne Danziger, Kate Coe
Editors: Bryan Storkel, Michelle Witten, Jason Decker, Andy Robertson, Brian Knappenberger
THE SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL IS ONE PROGRAM OF SUNDANCE INSTITUTE, A NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION THAT
DISCOVERS AND SUPPORTS INDEPENDENT FILM AND THEATRE ARTISTS FROM THE U.S. AND AROUND THE WORLD
AND INTRODUCES AUDIENCES TO THEIR NEW WORK.