On the morning of April 3rd Ai Weiwei was detained at Beijing Capital Airport by customs police while trying to travel to Hong Kong. His detention continues. His Beijing studio was also raided and electronic equipment, including hard drives and computers, confiscated. His wife, Lu Qing, and eight of his assistants were taken into the local police station for questioning. See here and here for recent coverage, but follow us @awwneversorry for current news.
Two years, seven countries and eleven cities later, I know Ai Weiwei. He is the ultimate prankster: simultaneously an international art star and a “dissident artist” in the Western press, with tens of thousands of Chinese netizens following him online and the government keeping almost constant tabs on him.
I have over 200 hours of footage (some of it viewable here) that includes never-before-seen interviews with Weiwei’s family, friends and fellow artists, and chronicles his preparation for major museum shows at the Haus der Kunst and Tate Modern, and a public sculpture work for New York’s Central Park. The two years I spent filming him really mark his rise to international renown, both for his art and his online activism. He is probably the fiercest and loudest internal critic of China, yet somehow he is not in jail.
Weiwei’s story is extraordinary, but I need your help bringing it to the world.
To date I have invested my own money and earned critical support from Agnes Gund, the Henry Luce Foundation and Hazen-Polsky Foundation. But, making a feature-length documentary is no small task. I’m working with a top-notch team including editor Jen Fineran, composer Ilan Isakov, Beijing-based graphics company 39 Degrees North, and a host of volunteers helping get the word out. I now need funding to meet post-production costs of editing, color-correcting, sound mix and music recording.
In a more abstract sense, you are helping to bring the issues of human rights, Internet censorship and freedom of expression to the forefront of conversations at film festivals, theaters, museums, universities, broadcast television, government and diplomatic offices…everywhere we plan to show the film.
Thank you for your support!