The US director of an award-winning documentary on outspoken Chinese artist Ai Weiwei (艾未未) to be shown in Taiwan next month said she hoped the film shows audiences the genuine side of Ai and offers a snapshot of contemporary China.
Alison Klayman, a first-time director who spent the period between 2008 and last year capturing Ai up close, said in Taipei yesterday she was excited to introduce Ai Weiwei-Never Sorry to a Chinese-speaking country because she wanted people of different backgrounds to see the human rights activist from a new perspective.
“Ai is extremely attractive,” Klayman said in fluent Mandarin. “I wanted to portray him as a regular person instead of a figure in the news coverage.”
Klayman, whose film has won prizes at distinguished movie festivals such as the Sundance Film Festival and the Berlin International Film Festival, said she did not intend to promote Ai in any way, but simply wanted to present him in an authentic manner.
The director embarked on the project because Ai was a “mystery” to her during the time she spent working as a journalist in China. Klayman said she did not expect her work to be a hit.
She added that the overall production budget of the film was less than US$1 million. Following the feature-length documentary’s commercial debut in Taiwan on Nov. 16, Klayman said her team will try to get it out in China the same way Ai distributes his films.
Online and underground methods will have to be used since the film is banned in China, she said.