Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

What a fascinating story! Ai Weiwei is the Chinese Artist/Dissident who boycotted the 2008 Chinese Olympics as a protest against the govern- ment's treatment of the people displaced by the Bird's-Nest Stadium in Beijing (he had been an artist/consultant for the project). After people's homes were condemned and demolished, they were hustled out of town for the duration of the Olympics because they weren't acceptable photo ops for visitors.

As he mastered the power of social network tools (he LOVES the Inter- net!), the government shut down his blog but he switched to Twitter and went to the site of the horrific Sichuan earthquake, where almost 5,000 school children died in shoddily built schools. Weiwei and his acolytes were on the spot, video cameras and cell phones in constant use. They gathered every name (most victims were an only child) and not only posted them on the wall in his studio, he coordinated an amazing project where people from everywhere contacted his Twitter site and each per- son read off a name, one by one, for everyone to hear and remember. It is phenomenal.

This guy is the perfect topic for a documentary: he spent 10 years in New York City, mastered English (he has an admirable vocabulary!), learned to love corned beef sandwiches, and watched the U. S. Government sue itself during the Iran/Contra hearings. He went back to China suitably impressed. He has observed that some of his stray cats have learned to open doors (with the lever-type door knob), but that they NEVER shut the door afterwards! While he was under police surveillance, he had his own cameraman shooting footage of the police cameraman; and of course, there is a third cameraman recording their encounter for posterity. It's pretty funny! Our 2012 Seattle International Film Festival audience enjoyed it immensely!

Weiwei is smart, articulate, original and charismatic...and despite the Chinese government's best efforts, his story is on-going. I haven't told you a fraction of what you will see in this documentary!