The Internet’s Own Boy: The Aaron Swartz Story, Cesar’s Last Fast, and We Are The Giant are looked at direct from their Sundance premieres. The documentary films that will shape the conversations of 2014 are shown here first, with trailer footage, film clips and conversation with their respective directors. Cesar Chavez, Hacktivist Aaron Swartz, and the stories of Arab Spring activists are all looked at in this collection of docs on political action and inspiration that are seen for the first time on BYOD– the only talk show only about documentary film.
Watch new episodes of BYOD live each week on Tuesdays at noon on TheLip.TV, or tune in for the archived replay starting here on the following Thursday.
BYOD is hosted by Ondi Timoner, director of “DIG!,” “JOIN US” and “WE LIVE IN PUBLIC,” and has the rare distinction of winning the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance twice. Each week the show explores a different documentary filmmaker or aspect of filmmaking, with special guests and a live Q&A– diving deep into creative process and the business realities of producing and distributing films. Ondi shares her insider views, opinions, and personal stories, welcoming audience participation. BYOD aims to entertain, inform, and elevate documentaries in general by bringing attention to films and film makers that deserve exposure.
INTERNET’S OWN BOY: THE AARON SWARTZ STORY
Director: Brian Knappenberger
“The Internet’s Own Boy,” a new film by Brian Knappenberger, director of “We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists,” follows internet activist and programming pioneer Aaron Swartz from his teenage emergence on the internet scene and involvement in RSS and Reddit, to his increased interest in political advocacy and the controversial actions he allegedly took in downloading nearly four million academic articles from the online service JSTOR. The film explores Aaron’s arrest, the prosecution’s tactics in bringing the case to trial through the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the CFAA, and the impact a seemingly small hacking gesture had on Aaron’s life and the possible future of information access on the internet.
Bio: Director, Writer, Producer Brian Knappenberger has created numerous documentaries, commercials and feature films for the Sundance Channel, PBS FRONTLINE/World, The Travel Channel, National Geographic and the Discovery Channel. He is also Executive Producer of the 23 part Bloomberg Television documentary series “Bloomberg Game Changers” which chronicles luminary figures like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and the Twitter and Google co-founders. His films have explored the changing politics and tensions in post 9/11 southern Afghanistan in “Life After War” along with abuses of power and freedom of speech issues with the killing of a journalist in Ukraine for “A Murder in Kyiv.” Other documentary work has ranged from tracking the changing climate conditions in the Arctic, to how advanced technology is changing our physical bodies in his film “Into The Body.” His work often centers on technology, its possibilities and the transformative effect it has on our lives, communication and culture.
WE ARE THE GIANT
Director: Greg Barker
Since late 2010, more than a dozen nations have experienced popular uprisings that have collectively been called the Arab Spring. Protests, buoyed by predominantly young participants and social-media organizing, have exposed repression and led to regime changes. What does it mean to take part in a collective action that has the potential to unseat dictators and bring previously undreamt-of freedoms to a people? Director Greg Barker (MANHUNT screened at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival) explores this question through a series of insightful activist portraits: Osama describes how his 21-year-old, Virginia-raised son, Muhannad, fought against Gaddafi’s forces in Benghazi. Ghassan and Motaz remain committed to peaceful resistance even as Syria descends into ever-more-hopeless violence. Sisters Maryam and Zainab become pivotal opposition figures while their father suffers in a Bahrain prison. These stories, underscored by echoes from past resistance leaders—ranging from Mahatma Gandhi to Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela to Aung San Suu Kyi—illustrate what drives revolutionaries and reveal the sacrifices they must make to pursue their causes.
Filmmaker Bio: Greg Barker, described by the New York Times as “a filmmaker of artistic and political consequence,” is a former war-correspondent-turned-filmmaker who has worked in more than 50 countries across six continents. His previous films include Ghosts of Rwanda (2004); Sergio, which won the Documentary Editing Award at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival; Koran by Heart (2011); and MANHUNT, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last year and went on to win a Primetime Emmy Award.
CESAR’S LAST FAST
Cesar’s Last Fast is a multi-platform feature documentary film about the private sacrifice and spiritual conviction behind Cesar Chavez’s struggle for the humane treatment of America’s farm workers, and the impact Chavez’s legacy has on today’s generation of organizers fighting for farm worker rights. The film is built around powerful, never-before-seen footage of Chavez’s 1988 “Fast for Life,” a 36-day act of penance for not having done enough to stop growers from spraying pesticides on farm workers. The story of this water-only fast is the film’s dramatic arc into which the filmmakers interweave the historic events that defined the life mission of America’s most inspiring Latino leader and the struggles confronting today’s farm workers.
This project is more than just a film. It is a powerful tool to engage people and organizations to participate in social justice movements using Cesar Chavez’s inspiring story as a model for how individuals and communities can address the inequities they confront every day. To carry out this social impact initiative, the filmmakers will partner with national civil, labor, human rights, and faith-based organizations. These partner groups will organize community-based screenings and incorporate the film into their social justice campaigns. This strategy will ensure the film reaches a new generation of immigrant workers who may not know Chavez’s story and his impact on Latino civil and labor rights in the United States.
Richard Ray Perez, Project Producer, Director
In addition to his work on Cesar’s Last Fast, Richard Ray Perez is the executive producer for the multi-platform documentary series, In Their Boots (www.InTheirBoots.com), a series about the impact the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are having on communities across America. The series was nominated for a 2009 International Documentary Association award for best single-subject documentary series, and began broadcasting on Public Television Stations across the U.S. in July, 2010.
00:01 Welcome to BYOD from Sundance 2014.
00:30 THE INTERNET’S OWN BOY: THE AARON SWARTZ STORY.
01:25 Director Brian Knappenberger interview.
13:12 THE INTERNET’S OWN BOY: THE AARON SWARTZ STORY, clip.
22:17 THE INTERNET’S OWN BOY: THE AARON SWARTZ STORY, clip.
25:03 CESAR’S LAST FAST, clip.
26:10 CESAR’S LAST FAST director Richard Ray Perez interview.
39:46 WE ARE THE GIANT, clip.
40:58 WE ARE THE GIANT, director Greg Barker interview.
45:41 WE ARE THE GIANT, clip.
58:32 WE ARE THE GIANT, clip.