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Watch Artist and Activist Ai Weiwei's Muse is His Conscience on PBS. See more from Independent Lens.
AI WEIWEI: NEVER SORRY, PREMIERES ON INDEPENDENT LENS, ON MONDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2013 ON PBS
Award-winning film offers a fascinating up-close look at the renowned Chinese artist and dissident and his ongoing battle with the Chinese government
“Ms. Klayman has pulled off an impressive coup. Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry provides a vivid primer on Mr. Ai’s art; on his days as an art student and artist in New York; on his social and political provocations. Ai’s is a special kind of courage, and it impels him to act with special agility in a brave new world of his own making, where little tweets can challenge big lies and a blog post can echo like thunder.” Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal
Named by “ArtReview as the most powerful artist in the world, Ai Weiwei is China’s most celebrated contemporary artist, and its most outspoken domestic critic. In April 2011, when Ai disappeared into police custody for three months, he quickly became China’s most famous missing person, having first risen to international prominence in 2008 after helping design Beijing’s iconic Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium — and then publicly denouncing the Games as party propaganda. Since then, Ai Weiwei’s critiques of China’s repressive regime have ranged from playful photographs of his raised middle finger in front of Tiananmen Square to searing memorials to the more than 5,000 schoolchildren who died in shoddy government construction in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. Against a backdrop of strict censorship, Ai has become a kind of Internet champion, using his blog and Twitter stream to organize, inform, and inspire his followers, becoming an underground hero to millions of Chinese citizens. Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry , premieres on the award-winning series Independent Lens , hosted by Stanley Tucci, on Monday, February 25, 2013 at 10 PM ET (check local listings).
First-time director Alison Klayman gained unprecedented access to the charismatic artist, as well as his family and others close to him, while working as a journalist in Beijing. In the years she filmed, government authorities shut down Ai’s blog, beat him up, bulldozed his newly built studio, and held him in secret detention — while Time Magazine named him a runner-up for 2011’s Person of the Year. Her compelling documentary portrait is the inside story of a passionate dissident for the digital age who inspires global audiences and blurs the boundaries of art and politics.
To learn more about the film, visit the Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry , companion website (http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/ai-weiwei), which features information about the film, including an interview with the filmmaker and links and resources pertaining to the film’s subject matter. The site also features a Talkback section, where viewers can share their ideas and opinions, preview clips of the film, and more.
About the Filmmaker
Alison Klayman (Director/Producer/Cinematographer) is a freelance journalist and documentary filmmaker. While living in China from 2006-2010, she produced radio and television feature stories for PBS Frontline, National Public Radio, AP Television, and others. She also began shooting her debut documentary feature, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry , following the artist/activist for two years and gaining unprecedented access to his life and work. The film was awarded a Special Jury Prize for Spirit of Defiance at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.
When Chinese authorities detained Ai for three months in the spring of 2011, Klayman made many media appearances to speak about Ai and her work, including CNN International and The Colbert Report . She has since been named a Sundance Documentary Producing Fellow and was included in Filmmaker Magazine’s annual list of “25 New Faces of Independent Film.”
Klayman grew up in the Philadelphia area and graduated from Brown University in 2006, with an honors B.A. degree in History. There she won both a C.V. Starr National Service Fellowship and an Associated Press College Radio Award for General Reporting. She speaks Mandarin Chinese and Hebrew.
About Independent Lens Independent Lens is an Emmy® Award-winning weekly series airing on PBS. The acclaimed anthology series features documentaries united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement, and unflinching visions of independent filmmakers. Presented by the Independent Television Service (ITVS), the series is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private corporation funded by the American people, with additional funding provided by PBS, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the MacArthur Foundation. The senior series producer is Lois Vossen. More information at www.pbs.org/independentlens. Join Independent Lenson Facebook at www.facebook.com/independentlens.