Political freedom and human rights issues are at the crossroads with the explosion of protest and demonstrations around the world. With recent developments in Egypt and Haiti and ongoing concerns in China, Iraq and Afghanistan, Cinematheque embarks on a film series entitled We Rise Above from October to February which explores issues and leading figures in the field of human rights.
The series includes several critically acclaimed new films – from the opening night film, Alison Klayman’s superb portrait of contemporary artist and activist Ai Weiwei Never Sorry to Michelle Mitchell’s investigative look at the improper use of funds for Haiti relief in HAITI: Where Did the Money Go?. Stefano Savona’s Tahrir Liberation Square illuminates the two most exciting weeks in the history of modern Egypt and human rights champion Harry Belafonte is given a stirring portrait in Sing Your Song. Also featured is curator Alex Rogalski’s program We Rise Above which focuses on five short Canadian films which focuses on strong women whose lives are forever altered by human rights abuses.
DIR. ALISON KLAYMAN | 2012 | US, CHINA | 91 MIN
Ai Weiwei is China’s most famous international artist (he helped design the Bird’s Nest Stadium for the Bejing Olympics in 2008) and its most outspoken domestic critic. Against a backdrop of strict censorship and an unresponsive legal system, Ai expresses himself and organizes people through art and social media. In response, Chinese authorities have shut down his blog, beat him up, bulldozed his newly built studio, and held him in secret detention.
Ai Weiwei Never Sorry is the inside story of a dissident for the digital age who inspires global audiences and blurs the boundaries of art and politics. First-time director Alison Klayman gained unprecedented access to Ai while working as a journalist in China. Her detailed portrait provides a nuanced exploration of contemporary China and one of its most compelling public figures.
“One of the most engagingly powerful movies of the year…Ai is great company to be around, funny and thoughtful and modest.” - BOSTON GLOBE
We Rise Above is generously sponsored by the Canadian Museum for Human Rights
Ai WeiWei Never Sorry is Co-sponsored by The Film Worlds Research Cluster at the University of Manitoba.