Documentary at the intersection of Journalism and Art – that’s a place where I want to be! 

I will watch Frontline: Who’s Afraid of Ai Weiwei? and learn about Alison Klayman’s extraordinary access to the world of Ai Weiwei as I look forward to her feature documentary Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry.

 

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry is the documentary that I most want to see as soon as it is released in 2012.  Journalist/Director Alison Klayman spoke on Judith Helfand’s “Tough Topics” panel at DocNYC.  Since 2008 she has been making a documentary about the architect/artist/activist who designed the Bird’s Nest at the Beijing Olympics, Ai Weiwei, who was roughed up, sentenced to house arrest and recently served with a $2.4 million dollar tax demand. Klayman scooped herself to do a CNN report on Ai Weiwei and a Frontline documentary about him.    

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry is the documentary that I most want to see as soon as it is released in 2012.  Journalist/Director Alison Klayman spoke on Judith Helfand’s “Tough Topics” panel at DocNYC.  Since 2008 she has been making a documentary about the architect/artist/activist who designed the Bird’s Nest at the Beijing Olympics, Ai Weiwei, who was roughed up, sentenced to house arrest and recently served with a $2.4 million dollar tax demand. Klayman scooped herself to do a CNN report on Ai Weiwei and a Frontline documentary about him.    

DAZZLED BY DOCUMENTARIES

DocNYC, a nine-day documentary festival of films, panel discussions, special guests, in its second year brought a cornucopia of visual pleasures and provocative ideas to the IFC Center and NYU’s Kimmel Center.   

When confronted with the global reach of outdoor advertising in the compelling documentary This Space Available: The Grassroots Movement Against Visual Pollution, I was stunned to hear advertisers and designers question the value of their actions and to learn that conservative businessmen in Houston and a conservative Mayor in Sao Paulo, Brazil had limited or banned billboards because they degraded their cities’ quality of life.  It was unsettling to see temporary gigantic ads affixed to construction sites in Venice, Italy, and astonishing to see a young generation of artists and activists acting to remove illegal advertising by painting over it or replacing it with non-commercial art.  Amazingly, in India, billboards are called “hoardings” – somehow the word sounds appropriate – they are hoarding the public space. 

This Space Available also shows historical footage of Lady Bird Johnson’s efforts to control billboards on Interstate Highways and the outdoor advertising industry’s efforts to sidestep regulation.   As President Lyndon Johnson says about the billboard industry: “I have never seen such a god damn group of selfish, eager hogs.”   After seeing this documentary, I find it hard to think that excess made America great or that regulation is the devil.