On the eve of last Thursday's historic vote by the Federal Communications Commission to implement strong net neutrality regulations, two Santa Ana filmmakers were invited by a congressman to show to policymakers in D.C. their award-winning documentary about the forces trying to control the Internet.
Congressman Alan Grayson (D-Florida) hosted the screening at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center of the award-winning documentary Killswitch: The Battle to Control the Internet, which was directed by Ali Akbarzadeh and produced by Jeffrey Horn of the Santa Ana film and commercial production company Akorn Entertainment.
Killswitch is about the battle to control the Internet–and access to information itself.
"This movie shows the harrowing costs that have been paid to preserve an open Internet," said Grayson in a statement from Akorn's publicist. "Aaron Swartz was driven to take his own life, and Edward Snowden had to flee his home and country. Those costs are raising the price of our own liberty."
Among those featured in the film is Lawrence Lessig, a law professor and director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, who participated in a post-screening discussion.
"More than 4 million Americans from across the political spectrum have engaged with the FCC in a historic public process as they decide the fate of the Internet," Lessig told the crowd. "Now Congress must respect that process and the American people who advocated a free and open Internet that fosters innovation, economic growth, and democratic communication."
Lessig was joined in the discussion by Free Press president Craig Aaron, who fights to preserve citizens' access to a free and open Internet.
"On the verge of a historic win on net neutrality, we've just scratched the surface of the Internet's potential to bring people together around the most pressing social and political issues–including the future of the Internet itself," Aaron explained. "But powerful government and corporate forces across the globe want to monitor, censor and control what we do online. Films like Killswitch and discussions like this one will be crucial to educating and mobilizing people so we can turn this exciting moment into a political movement."
Net neutrality advocates like Grayson, Lessig and Aaron will have to remain vigilant as the FCC's party-line 3-2 vote is expected to be challenged in courts and the Congress.