Initial releaseOctober 18, 2014 Running time1h 12m GenresDocumentary, Drama film
WriterAli Akbarzadeh, Christopher Dollar ScreenplayAli Akbarzadeh, Christopher Dollar CastLawrence Lessig, Tim Wu, Peter Ludlow
Killswitch trailer the battle for a free and open internet
Killswitch is a documentary film about the battle for control over the Internet. The movie is a collaboration between director Ali Akbarzadeh, producer Jeffrey Horn, writer Christopher Dollar and Akorn Entertainment. It premiered at the Woodstock Film Festival in October 2014, where it won the James K. Lyons Award for Best Editing of a feature documentary and then made its international debut, playing alongside Citizenfour at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam in November 2014. In 2015, it screened on Capitol Hill, as well as film festivals on four continents (Europe, Asia, Australia, and North America). The tech world has been excited by democratic presidential candidate Lawrence Lessig's role in the film. Kathy Gill of GeekWire writes that "Killswitch is much more than a dry recitation of technical history. Director Ali Akbarzadeh, producer Jeff Horn, and writer Christopher Dollar created a human centered story. A large part of that connection comes from Lessig and his relationship with Swartz." Since Killswitch's recent release to a popular audience on Netflix, critics have hailed the film as one of the best documentary films to watch in 2017.
The Internet is under attack. Free Speech, innovation, and democracy are all up for grabs.
Lawrence Lessig, Tim Wu, and Peter Ludlow frame the story of two young hackers, Aaron Swartz and Edward Snowden, who symbolize the disruptive and dynamic nature of the Internet. Their lives parallel one another as they free information and take on the system, putting them directly in the cross-hairs of some of the most powerful interests in the world. Swartz leads the charge in defeating the Stop Online Piracy Act, and pays a heavy price, but not before he challenges his mentor, Lawrence Lessig, to take up his call and lead a crusade to restore our democracy. Snowden is forced to flee the country and ponder his next move.
Capitol Hill screening
In February 2015, Killswitch was invited to screen at the Capitol Visitor's Center in Washington DC by Congressman Alan Grayson. The event was held on the eve of the Federal Communications Commission's historic decision on net neutrality. Congressman Grayson, Harvard Professor Lawrence Lessig, and Free Press CEO Craig Aaron paid homage to Aaron Swartz and spoke about the importance of protecting the free and open Internet.
Killswitch is "One of the most honest accounts of the battle to control the Internet -- and access to information itself. -U.S. Representative Alan Grayson"
One of the best documentaries to watch in 2017. Highlights aspects of the web few take time to think about, and serves as a thought-provoking film on the future of information. -Arts.Mic
"Some of the most lapidary use of found footage this side of The Atomic Café". -Metro Silicon Valley
"Anyone who values unfettered access to online information is apt to be captivated by Killswitch, a gripping and fast-paced documentary." -Orange County Register
"Killswitch weaves together ancient and recent history in a way that makes heady issues like network neutrality and SOPA connect with non-technical people." -GeekWire