Category Archives: The Internet’s Own Boy – Press

“The Internet’s Own Boy” On the Oscar Documentary “Short List”

aaron darkBrian Knappenberger’s amazing documentary is now in line to potentially be awarded one of its highest honors.

I must say that I am thrilled and more than a little impressed by the Academy’s choosing “The Internet’s Own Boy” and “Citizen Four” in the same year.

For me, the takeaway is clear: the issues that Aaron fought for, and that Edward Snowden is still fighting for, are finally hitting home with enough people that these ideals are no longer seen as “fringe” concerns.


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that 15 films in the Documentary Feature category will advance in the voting process for the 87th Oscars®.  One hundred thirty-four films were originally submitted in the category.

The 15 films are listed below in alphabetical order by title, with their production companies:

“Art and Craft,” Purple Parrot Films
“The Case against 8,” Day in Court
“Citizen Koch,” Elsewhere Films
“CitizenFour,” Praxis Films
“Finding Vivian Maier,” Ravine Pictures
“The Internet’s Own Boy,” Luminant Media
“Jodorowsky’s Dune,” City Film
“Keep On Keepin’ On,” Absolute Clay Productions
“The Kill Team,” f/8 filmworks
“Last Days in Vietnam,” Moxie Firecracker Films
“Life Itself,” Kartemquin Films and Film Rites
“The Overnighters,” Mile End Films West
“The Salt of the Earth,” Decia Films
“Tales of the Grim Sleeper,” Lafayette Film
“Virunga,” Grain Media

The Academy’s Documentary Branch determined the shortlist in a preliminary round of voting.  Documentary Branch members will now select the five nominees from among the 15 titles.

The 87th Academy Awards® nominations will be announced live on Thursday, January 15, 2015, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

The Oscars will be held on Sunday, February 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be televised live by the ABC Television Network.  The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.



Review of IOB: “A frightening case study in the power of government”


The Internet’s Own Boy (Review)
By Norm Schrager for Paste Magazine  on June 27, 2014

From the Review:

The Internet’s Own Boy is Brian Knappenberger’s (We are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists) account of Swartz’s immensely abbreviated life as one of the most vital and controversial contributors to the progress of the Internet and, more notably, the availability of its contents. A distinctively human tale in a world of software development, Own Boy succeeds on many levels: it’s a compact, descriptive history of a nascent Internet, a frightening case study in the power of government, and a collection of interviews with the most prominent voices of the Web Age. But most important—and most effective to the storytelling—The Internet’s Own Boy is about a brilliant youngster who was becoming a brilliant man before he took his own life…

Knappenberger traces Swartz’s growth and burgeoning activism with the eye of an investigative reporter, assembling some of the most interesting talking heads in the industry, including Tim Berners-Lee (yeah, he invented the World Wide Web) and soft-spoken Creative Commons founder Lawrence Lessig. Brilliant minds themselves, they all recognized Swartz’s smarts and courage, and express it on screen wonderfully.

LA Times: Aaron’s Story Cannot Help But Touch You

aaron dark

Critic’s Pick ‘Internet’s Own Boy’ outlines suicide of prodigy Aaron Swartz

By Kenneth Turan for the LA Times

From the Review (July 2, 2014):

“The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz” is an unemotional title for a moving documentary that will leave you heartsick as well as more than a little angry. Whether Aaron Swartz is a personal hero or someone you’ve never heard of until now, his story cannot help but touch you…

Swartz’s death shocked the Internet community because of the aims and tactics of U.S. prosecutors who, the film contends, exhibited considerably more zeal than sense. Hearing from friends, family, colleagues and admirers makes it clear how unbearably sad it is that someone as young and gifted as Swartz felt compelled to take his own life.”

“The Internet’s Own Boy” is a New York Times Critics’ Pick!

A Prodigious Beginning, Then an Early Ending                                               By Jeannette Catsoulis for the New York Times                                      June 26, 2014

Moving and maddening in almost equal measure, Brian Knappenberger’s “The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz” is a devastating meditation on what can happen when a prescient thinker challenges corporate interests and the power of the state.

Variety on “The Internet’s Own Boy” June 27 Release

Aaron Swartz Documentary ‘Internet’s Own Boy’ Set for June 27 Release

“We wanted to bring Aaron’s story to as many people as possible, so the day ‘The Internet’s Own Boy’ debuts in theaters, we are also offering the film across a variety of digital services and platforms in a model fitting with what Aaron architected and stood for” said Knappenberger…

The film explores the arrest, the prosecution’s tactics in bringing the case to trial through the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and the possible future of information access on the Internet.

Geoff Berkshire gave the film a strong review for Variety, calling it “spellbinding.”