'The Internet's Own Boy' Is A Powerful Homage To Aaron Swartz

Samantha Murphy Kelly | Mashable | January 21, 2014

The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz received a standing ovation at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival this week just a few days after the one-year anniversary of the web pioneer's death rattled the Internet.

The documentary by Brian Knappenberger (known for directing We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists about the online hacktivist group Anonymous) closely follows the rise and fall of computer programming prodigy and Reddit co-founder Swartz, who emerged as one of the top advocates for Internet freedom and education.

In high school, Swartz helped launch the web's first RSS feeds, founded Creative Commons and ultimately co-created Reddit, before it was sold to Conde Naste in 2006. Most recently, he helped push forward the successful grassroots opposition to SOPA.

Although Swartz's legacy has been widely discussed, especially following his suicide in early January 2013 while facing federal prosecution, the The Internet's Own Boy shows an intimate, harrowing side to the story that intertwines home footage and interviews with some of his closest friends and family members. The film was funded on popular crowdsourcing platform Kickstarter and raised nearly $100,000 from about 1,500 backers.