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Last modified: Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Director brings Chinese dissident artist's story to IU Cinema with film, Jorgensen lecture

Aug. 29, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Art is ultimately an expression of one's self and one's community, and perhaps no single artist exemplifies that better than Ai Weiwei.

Weiwei, Ai

Photo by Ted Alcorn. A Sundance Selects release

Ai Weiwei

Print-Quality Photo

Considered by many as both China's most famous international artist and its most outspoken critic, Ai blurs the boundaries of art and politics by expressing himself against a backdrop of strict censorship and an impassive legal system. In response, Chinese authorities have shut down his blog, beaten him, bulldozed his newly built studio and held him in secret detention.

First-time director Alison Klayman, who gained unprecedented access to Ai while working in China, brings his story to the big screen with "Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry." A freelance journalist and documentary filmmaker who speaks Mandarin, she has produced radio and television stories for PBS Frontline, National Public Radio and AP Television. Her film about Ai received a Special Jury Prize for Spirit of Defiance at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.

"Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry" will screen at IU Cinema at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 6, 9:30 p.m. Sept. 7 and 3 p.m. Sept. 8. Tickets are $3 for students and $6 for members of the public. Tickets can be purchased at the IU Auditorium Box Office from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or one hour before each screening at the cinema.

Klayman will speak at 3 p.m. Sept. 6 as part of the cinema's Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lecture Series, made possible through the support of the Ove W Jorgensen Foundation.

"Alison Klayman's film allows us to get close to this larger-than-life figure," IU Cinema Director Jon Vickers said. "Politics aside, you can't help but walk away inspired by the courage and creativity of this man. We are looking forward to hearing the director's stories of Ai Weiwei firsthand."

The screenings are part of the Themester film series, as well as the East Asian Film Series and the International Arthouse Series. Sponsors include the East Asian Studies Center and IU Cinema, with support from Themester, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Communication and Culture and the Center for the Study of Global Change.

IU Cinema is a world-class facility and program dedicated to the scholarly study and highest standards of exhibition of film in its traditional and modern forms. For more information on the facility or programs, call 812-856-2503 or visit