The dissident Chinese artist, activist, and filmmaker Ai Weiwei will be competing in the Venice film festival this year with his film Human Flow, a film about the global refugee crisis. Spanning 23 countries over the course of a year, the film focuses on both the scale of the crisis and its personal human impact. Weiwei said: “There is no refugee crisis, only a human crisis. The border is not at Lesbos, but really it is in our hearts and minds.”
The Amazon Studios film has acquired U.S. distribution rights to Participant Media and AC Films’ Human Flow. The film is produced by Mr. Ai, Chin-chin Yap, and Heino Deckert. Participant Media’s Jeff Skoll and Diane Weyermann executive produced alongside Andy Cohen of AC Films. Amazon will release Human Flow theatrically in the fall with a to-be-determined distribution partner. The film’s release will coincide with an impact campaign developed in partnership with organisations working on the ground to aid refugees around the world.
The prospect of one of the world’s most preeminent human rights activist, filmmaker, and artist like Ai Weiwei tackling such a subject matter was too important to ignore. Human Flow comes at a time when refugee issues have played out heavily in the news. The feature-length documentary is the latest title in the sales pact between Lionsgate International and Participant Media that kicked off in Berlin with José Padilha’s Untitled Entebbe Project and Rupert Wyatt’s sci-fi thriller Captive State. The Chinese activist and artist Ai Weiwei shot Human Flow in 23 countries including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sweden and Italy in a bid to capture the scale of the global refugee crisis.
The film, currently in post production, focuses on the plight of some of the estimated 65 million forcibly displaced people who have fled their homes in search of better lives. The 74th edition of the Venice Film Festival runs from 30 August to 5 September.