If you've ever seen a man called the "Techno Viking" online, you're not alone. Last week, German filmmaker Matthias Fritsch premiered a documentary surrounding the viral video he recorded of a shirtless German man who dances in public that's been seen by millions of people since he uploaded it to YouTube in 2006.
The documentary, released Oct. 15, focuses on Fritsch's lengthy court battles to maintain his right to use the video of the Techno Viking, as well as the Internet meme culture and new world of online identities he embodied. Fritsch crowdfunded the production of the documentary on Indiegogo, successfully raising over 6,000 euros in one month. The Indiegogo post was written by Fritsch in English, German and Mandarin, revealing the scope and distance the viral video has covered in its existence.
Who is the Techno Viking? As Vice reports, the Techno Viking prefers to remain unknown. In a 2009 lawsuit, the unidentified German man and his lawyers requested Fritsch take down any videos with his face in it from Berlin's 2000 "Fuckparade" event, an annual summer showcase of techno music in the German city.
However, the man in front of the camera, who breaks into dance multiples times in the video, as well as accepting a refreshment from an apparent passer-by and defending a woman from a man pushing through the crowd, is far from pleased with the jokes that use his image as the center of attention.
The Berlin District Court decided three years later the videos could be kept in the public domain — so long as Fritsch manipulated them in a way the Techno Viking's identity would remain unknown. However, the memes, GIFs and duplicated videos showing the dancing man's face were left in the viral sphere for uncontrolled manipulation, much to the joy of Internet-meme creators around the world.
The documentary can be seen below: