A TCFF Preview with the Directors of “The Internet’s Own Boy” and “The Case Against 8”

With the film festival fast approaching, it’s time to get pumped and start thinking about which life-changing film experiences you want under your belt. Consider, then, these two documentaries of critical acclaim: “The Internet’s Own Boy” and “The Case Against 8.”

“The Internet’s Own Boy” chronicles the life and death of programmer, hacker, and information activist Aaron Swartz. Swartz, known for his revolutionary programming prowess and drive for social justice, took his own life in the midst of a legal battle with the federal government for Internet-related crimes in 2013. “The Case Against 8” gets a behind-the-scenes look at another hard-fought court struggle: the case to overturn California’s infamous ban on same-sex marriage. We’re excited to welcome directors Brian Knappenberger (“The Internet’s Own Boy”) and Ben Cotner (“The Case Against 8”) to the Traverse City Film Festival this year!

For a little preview, check out the Documentary Podcast by the team over at Detroit’s Freep Film Festival. They had the opportunity to chat with the directors. Knappenberger discusses what drew him to this story and how frustrating it was to receive minimal cooperation from the prosecution, particularly as to why they were determined to come down so hard on Swartz. Cotner and co-director Ryan White explain how they managed to add suspense to a documentary where the end result isn’t a surprise—they say it all comes down to great editing, and that one of the couples featured in the movie was actually on the edge of their seats watching their first day in court play out on-screen!

“The Internet’s Own Boy” and “The Case Against 8” will be playing at the Old Town Playhouse and the City Opera House, respectively. The screening of “The Case Against 8” will be followed by a Cinema Salon discussion at Clinch Park.