Brian Knappenberger's Kickstarter-funded documentary The Internet's Own Boy, the director's attempt to unite fractured accounts of the late Aaron Swartz as a person and an activist into a single narrative, just debuted at Sundance to positive reviews.
Swartz, 26, was instrumental in the 2012 fight against potentially Internet-destroying bills SOPA and PIPA. He helped create Reddit. Setting up in a closet at MIT and trying to set millions of copyrighted academic journal articles free was just one of many expressions of his belief in removing legal and corporate restrictions on the Internet's potential to share knowledge.
Swartz took his own life in January 2013, facing federal prosecution and a potentially lengthy prison sentence for downloading those articles. His final attempt to settle the case had been rejected.
Though Swartz didn't live to see Edward Snowden's revelations about NSA surveillance, he comes across as all the more prescient in light of what we now know.
The Internet's Own Boy goes into limited theatrical release June 27.