BARBERSHOP PUNK explores how a small number of powerful corporations have the power to control the World Wide Web, and what ordinary people can do to promote the free exchange of information in cyberspace.

CIFVF Best of Festival

Robb Topolski is an unlikely crusader for free speech — on the surface; he seems to be a mild-mannered geek with a fondness for a capella music. However, when Topolski tried to upload some rare recordings of barbershop quartets to a peer-to-peer file sharing website in 2007, he found that his broadband Internet connection slowed down to a tiny fraction of its usual speed.

Topolski, who worked as a computer network engineer, ran some tests to find out what was happening and made a surprising discovery — his internet service provider was monitoring the web use of its customers and using software to slow connections for certain activities and certain websites. Topolski took his ISP to court and has become a passionate spokesman for net neutrality, believing that ISP's have no right to interfere with what their customers are doing and should not be watching their activities on line.

This case is one of the key inspirations behind the documentary BARBERSHOP PUNK, which explores how a small number of powerful corporations have the power to control the World Wide Web, and what ordinary people can do to promote the free exchange of information in cyberspace.

Featuring interviews with Ian MacKaye, Janeane Garofalo, Damian Kulash of OK Go, Henry Rollins, Mike McCurry, John Perry Barlow, Jonathan Adelstein and many more.

77 minutes
SDH Captioning for the Deaf & Hard-of-Hearing

Directed by  Georgia Sugimura Archer
Produced by Georgia Sugimura Archer and Kristin Armfield
Co-Directed by Kristin Armfield
Executive Producer: Anthony Dominici

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Screening options:
$29.95 Home Use House Party DVD purchase (private use only)

COMMUNITY SCREENINGS (single events with license to charge admission)

$100 Small Community Screening (1-50 people)
$200 Medium Community Screening (51-100 people)
$350 Large Community Screening (100+ people)


"Engaging, provocative...It's noteworthy when nemeses like the Christian Coalition and the group Naral Pro-Choice are on the same side of the Net-neutrality fence...It's an Orwellian corporatocracy we live in, with our Web-surfing habits monitored, and bought and sold like commodities. If you're reading this online, someone, or something, is probably tracking you."
Andy Webster, The New York Times

 

"Barbershop Punk reminds us not only that our society hasn't really decided what the internet is supposed to be, but also that the final verdict on the matter may rest with those who stand to benefit most from that crucial definition."
Tiny Mix Tapes

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