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Participant Media and FilmBuff License North American Distribution Rights in All Media to ‘The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz’

LOS ANGELES (February 27, 2014) – Participant Media and FilmBuff have licensed all North American rights to Brian Knappenberger’s acclaimed documentary “The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz.” A day-and-date theatrical and VOD release is tentatively scheduled for June 2014, followed by a broadcast television premiere on Participant’s television network, Pivot, in Q4 of 2014.

The film, which received critical praise at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and will be screening at the upcoming SXSW Film Festival, was directed, written and produced by Knappenberger (“We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists”). Executive producers are Charles Annenberg Weingarten, Zach Braff and Mason Fink. John Dragonetti composed the score.

“The themes presented in ‘The Internet’s Own Boy’ clearly resonated with us as a digitally driven company,” said FilmBuff’s Head of Content Partnerships Steven Beckman. “Having worked on Brian’s earlier film ‘We Are Legion,’ the opportunity to partner together again is incredibly exciting – he is a very talented filmmaker with a unique voice, wrestling with culturally relevant issues. We are thrilled to be working with Participant to bring this timely and important film to audiences in an innovative way.”

Diane Weyermann, Participant Media’s EVP, Documentary Films commented, “‘The Internet’s Own Boy’ is a deeply moving story that explores the incredible power of one individual to inspire change and the complexity and importance of freedom of information – all of which are right at the core of what our company is about. We look forward to teaming with FilmBuff and launching a robust social action campaign to start with theatrical and extend through the Pivot airings.”

“From the moment I started filming I wanted to find a way to both bring Aaron’s story to the widest possible audience and to use the film to advance the principles he cared about. “ Knappenberger said “Teaming with Participant and FilmBuff is exciting, particularly because Participant’s focus has been on supporting great films that have at their core social change with strategic action campaigns, which is critical for a story like this. We’re thrilled to engage audiences and carry on Aaron’s fight by moving forward on the broad range of internet and social justice causes Aaron cared about.”

“The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz” 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 (CFAA), and the impact a seemingly small hacking gesture had on Aaron’s life and the possible future of information access on the internet.

The deal was negotiated by FilmBuff CEO Janet Brown and Head of Content Partnerships Steven Beckman, Participant COO Jeff Ivers, Pivot SVP of Acquisitions and Operations Jennie Morris, and Cinetic Media Founder John Sloss on behalf of the filmmakers.

About Participant Media
Participant (www.participantmedia.com) is a global entertainment company founded in 2004 by Jeff Skoll to focus on feature film, television, publishing and digital content that inspires social change. Participant’s more than 45 films include GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK, SYRIANA, AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, FOOD, INC., WAITING FOR ‘SUPERMAN’, THE HELP, CONTAGION and LINCOLN. Through its films, social action campaigns, digital network TakePart.com and Pivot, its new television network for Millennials, Participant seeks to entertain, encourage and empower every individual to take action.

About FilmBuff
Founded in 2007, New York-based FilmBuff is the leading distributor of incomparable digital entertainment. The Company draws upon its deep relationships within the film industry to curate content that consistently informs, entertains and inspires. FilmBuff designs innovative digital strategies to supply content to all on-demand outlets. Serving as a bridge between filmmakers and audiences, FilmBuff actively engages in conversations with fellow entertainment lovers through its exclusive access, original content and unique voice. Find FilmBuff content on all cable, satellite and telco services, game consoles, online retailers, wireless platforms and hardware manufacturers worldwide. Connect with FilmBuff at www.FilmBuff.com and @filmbuff.

About Pivot
Pivot (Pivot.tv), which launched nationally August 1, is a television network from Participant Media serving passionate Millennials (18-34) with a diverse slate of talent and a mix of original series, acquired programming, films and documentaries. Pivot focuses on entertainment that sparks conversation, inspires change and illuminates issues through engaging content and, through its website TakePart.com, connects audiences to a wealth of content and customizable actions. Pivot is also changing the media landscape available via traditional Pay TV subscription and integrating a Live and on demand streaming option via its interactive, downloadable Pivot APP. Follow Pivot on Twitter at @pivot_tv and on Facebook atfacebook.com/pivottelevision.