As countries around the world call for the release of Ai Weiwei, who was detained April 3 in the Beijing airport by Chinese government officials, a New York filmmaker is finishing up a two-year project – a feature film about the artist-activist. Alison Klayman, a 26-year-old first-time filmmaker, is scrambling to revise her documentary, “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry,” and rushing to release it in hopes that it will raise consciousness about Mr. Ai’s situation and maybe even aid in his release, according to a story by the WSJ’s Erica Orden.
“I kind of felt like this film would be an important one,” said Ms. Klayman in an interview. “Now it has a whole different meaning.” She spent two years with Mr. Ai, documenting his work in photography, installation, painting and sculpture, as well as his outspoken remarks regarding China and its stance on human-rights issues. According to the story, “When Mr. Ai visited a Chengdu police station last year to file a complaint about being beaten, Ms. Klayman accompanied him with her camera, filming the interaction. Police subsequently pulled her aside, demanding she erase the footage in their presence, she said.” But while she made it appear as though she was deleting the tape, Ms. Klayman said her record of the incident survived: Anticipating their demands, she said she had switched the tape for a blank one, having snuck outside to stow the original in her car.
Ms. Klayman developed a close relationship with Mr. Ai, his family and his numerous assistants, and she appears rattled by his disappearance. “It took me about a week to be able to come back to editing in a really strong way,” she said. “It was just emotional to deal with the film again.” During the first few days of his detainment, she slept with a laptop next to her head, so Skype, the Internet-based calling application, could awaken her with calls bearing news from China.
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry TEASER