VSA’s Brendan Colthurst joins in Webby win for documentary

Brendan Colthurst, Director, Development at VSA Partners, is part of a team celebrating the win this week of a 2014 Webby Award in the Public Service & Activism (Channel) category. Colthurst co-produced and co-wrote The Internet Must Go, a 30-minute documentary aiming to make the seemingly obscure issue of net neutrality relatable to a wide audience. He also produced its accompanying website, which has received over 300,000 views since launching in September 2013.

Directed by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Gena Konstantinakos, The Internet Must Go follows John Wooley, a fictional market researcher for big Internet service providers, as he sets out to destroy the open architecture of the Internet by setting up “fast lanes” for corporate interests. Wooley interviews net neutrality experts like Lawrence Lessig (also the winner of this year’s Webby Lifetime Achievement Award), Tim Wu, Susan Crawford and Senator Al Franken, and advocates like literary humorist John Hodgman and Free Press President & CEO Craig Aaron. Along the way, he learns how critical an open Internet is to commerce, equality, innovation and free speech.

The entire crew funneled their passion for an open Internet into the project, especially with recent FCC actions that point the way towards restrictions that impede net neutrality. The ultimate call to action on the film’s site is a petition available to sign to keep the Internet open. “It felt good to be able to combine my experience in film, technology and comedy to get the word out about this important issue,” said Colthurst. The Webby Award is the latest in a long string of accolades and mentions from dozens of publications and outlets, including NPR’s All Things Considered, Techdirt, Moveon.org, the Huffington Post and the Washington Post.

You can watch The Internet Must Go online now, as well as a host of outtakes only available on the site, or download the film from its Vimeo page. Follow the conversation on Twitter with the #OpenInternet hashtag. And watch highlights from the 2014 Webby Awards ceremony on demand, where Konstantinakos accepted her award with a Webby-trademarked five-word speech, “Internet Vs FCC. Let’s win.”