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“AI WEIWEI: NEVER SORRY” | director, Alison Klayman

[PREMIERE SCREENING: Sunday, January 22, 11:30 am –Library Center Theatre, Park City]

Working in radio journalism in college and then as a reporter in China, I fell in love with the power of aural storytelling. I always hoped to make a documentary film because I thought it would add even more layers to an audience’s experience. As a director I know my choices and authorship necessarily shape the film, but my hope is that good documentary filmmaking can come as close as possible to letting viewers encounter a story directly and decide things for themselves.

Ai Weiwei is a master at creating new conditions through his art and his online projects. He thrives on the unexpected and the feeling of discovery, to stir and challenge and disrupt, and then see how everything plays out. That combined with his charismatic personality and his arresting artworks in various media made me want to make a feature documentary about him, to let audiences connect with this cultural and political figure of global importance in a more direct manner.

Film is also a great medium to tell Ai Weiwei’s story simply because of the power of film in our world today. Weiwei is in the news every week for his bold statements, his art and his clashes with authorities, yet many people are just learning about him for the first time. Only a film could truly introduce him to the broadest audience possible. It was an unexpected twist when he was detained for 81 days in April 2011, and the need for the film became even more urgent. His story is not just about one courageous man, but an integral piece of the full picture of China, where the country has been and where it is headed.

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