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AI WEIWEI: NEVER SORRY is the first feature-length documentary about China's (in)famous artist and activist, Ai Weiwei.
AI WEIWEI: NEVER SORRY is the first feature-length documentary about China's (in)famous artist and activist, Ai Weiwei.
AI WEIWEI: NEVER SORRY is the first feature-length documentary about China's (in)famous artist and activist, Ai Weiwei.
793 backers pledged $52,175 to help bring this project to life.

Sundance recap! On to Berlin!

Dear Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry supporters, 

Happy Lunar New Year! 新年快乐! Fresh from our World Premiere screenings of Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, the team is headed next to the Berlinale for the International Premiere! 

At Sundance, the film screened to over 2,300 people in seven screenings and inspired many laughs, tears, two standing ovations, and a Special Jury Prize for Spirit of Defiance!

Kickstarters' Yancey Strickler used our film as a model during his Artist Services presentation at the festival. We proudly talk about our Kickstarter backers everywhere we go, and are so grateful for your support in taking on a project when it was still far away from the bright lights of Sundance. 

We hope that those of you who have received your rewards are wearing/using them proudly. If your reward included a DVD or digital download, we will be making those fulfillments after the film has its theatrical/television run and comes out on DVD, which we believe will be end of year or early 2013. We promise we haven't forgotten and will keep you posted! Be sure to let us know if your address or any other details change.

More recaps from Sundance!

Alison snaps a photo of the crowd during her acceptance speech, when she asked everyone to stick up their middle finger in solidarity for Ai Weiwei's playful and indomitable stand for freedom of expression! 

Upon seeing the photo, Weiwei wrote back immediately with his own photo and a text: "Hehe, joy."
Later, Alison remarked: "To see that the overwhelming takeaway message for audiences was to be inspired to go speak out in their own life … that was the real reward."

  • Carson Daly featured only six films from Sundance on his late-night show, Last Call with Carson Daly. We were thrilled to be included among them for his Spotlight on Sundance segment!
  • David Poland of Movie City News conducted an in-depth interview with director Alison Klayman on DP/30. Watch it here!
  • Christianity Today gave Never Sorry a glowing review, writing: ‎"Film seems to be right mix of narrative, hype, & social angst to land itself an Oscar nomination next year." 
  • Our Outreach campaign drew attention from indieWIRE, who named our fortune cookies including Ai Weiwei's tweets, one of their "favorite examples of Sundance 2012 movie swag!" The NY Times blog also featured a photo of our life-size Ai Weiwei cut-out on Main Street, and OnEarth blog mentioned the film as having the Best Guerrilla Marketing. 

None of this would have been possible without your support and dedication!


Never Sorry team

"Never Retreat. Retweet!"


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    1. Stephanie Pereira
      on June 9, 2012

      So great that you were able to arrange a special virtual screening (and Q&A with you) for your backers! Thanks for all the hard work, truly amazing to follow this story.

    2. Kellan on May 5, 2012

      Very disappointing that we're be treating as customers instead of collaborators and the digital download is pushed off. Definitely doesn't feel honest or respectful.

    3. Missing avatar

      David Hartung on April 26, 2012

      This is ridiculous. The terms say "when it becomes available" not "when it becomes most commercially convenient for us to give you your digital download." This is not a for-profit theatrical release, but done to raise awareness.

      You have disappointed me and I regret funding this project.

    4. Alek Shnayder on April 10, 2012

      Wanting to give you the benefit of the doubt and not to belabor the point, but a reminder that we were to receive the digital download when the film was completed, which it has been for a significant amount of time. As stated above, despite being successfully funded last year, and screening the completed film since earlier of this year, we have failed to receive an update of the fulfillment of the promised reward . Thus, the criticism is that you may be failing to make a good faith and active attempt to fulfill the promised rewards, and thereby potentially in violation of the Kickstarter’s Terms of Service.

    5. Chris Schreiber on April 4, 2012

      Alison, can we get an update? It's been two months since this update above---which obviously caused concern for some of your backers, myself included. Your February 5th comment above mentions that: 'News about our distribution plans will be coming in the next few weeks.'

      Additionally, some pretty significant bit of news about the film was distributed via Twitter on Feb 15, but what it means to us has not been communicated:

      *** aliklay ‏ Yay! RT@IFCFilms: We are extremely excited to announce that @SundanceSelects will be releasing AI WEIWEI: NEVER SORRY! ***

      Even though my personal opinion is that backers should be the first to hear big news since we've been following along for over a year, it's not a big deal as long as we get the details in a timely fashion. For example, Sundance Selects states that it is: 'a new theatrical and video-on-demand film label that provides a national platform for independent film in the documentary and world cinema categories.' I don't know if that should make me hopeful that I'll get to see it soon; or if that will get in the way of my seeing the film in a timely fashion. I remain eager to see the film.

    6. Nancy C. on March 20, 2012

      Seriously? 2013? Some of us might be dead by then. I agree with everyone who says we paid/supported you in being able to complete this filming and now we're getting rear-ended, I mean, shortended by being denied access to the film while you're off showing it off at festivals and such public places where it will be readily available to people who aren't as invested (financially plus interest) as we were when we backed this! Please reconsider releasing the film to YOUR BACKERS first! We deserve that much. Without us, this documentary wouldn't even gotten made! I feel sorry for those who backed $1000, $2500 or even $5000 and they don't get to see the film for free before you release it publically to festivals? Wow.

    7. Justin Wornes on February 7, 2012

      +1 to all the comments above regarding the digital download not being available to backers of this Project while it gets shown at film festivals. My geographical and financial situation does not allow me to partake in such Spectacles.

    8. eric facas (deleted) on February 6, 2012

      Hi Alison,

      Please find a way to share your film with this team of people who helped make it possible. I contributed to this project because I thought it was a story worth telling. I also gave because I really wanted to see the film. It's great to hear that your film is having the success it deserves but putting off sharing it with this group doesn't feel fair. In know you're dealing with a number of challenges including distribution rights and exclusivity for festivals. That said, there is always a solution. I look forward to hearing one that doesn't involve waiting until 2012 to see the film.

      Best regards,


    9. Alison Klayman Creator on February 5, 2012

      Hi everyone, We've been messaging with some of you / seeing your comments, and worry that our update is being misunderstood. We want to clarify: Backers will absolutely be the FIRST of anyone to have a digital download when it's available. We will do everything in our power to offer it as soon as possible this year.
      We will also look into streaming possibilities, so if some of you want to see it before a download is available, maybe we can make a streaming option available earlier instead.
      Thanks for your enthusiasm to see the film! News about our distribution plans will be coming in the next few weeks.

    10. Missing avatar

      Rindy Portfolio on February 5, 2012

      We have been waiting for the film a long time and now it is being shown to audiences around the world, but those of us who backed it from the beginning are unable to see it. Now we learn that we will wait for another year? Not feeling like a valued team member here.

    11. Chris Schreiber on February 5, 2012

      After posting concerns here and writing directly to Alison, she was kind enough to reply thoughtfully to me very promptly last night. Let's give her a chance to respond. I remain very supportive of the film and her efforts and this must have been a blur (they were still getting the film ready right up until days before Sundance). Personally, I don't really feel like an executive producer, I don't think we're the only reason the film was made, and I doubt we'll be downloading it until it is truly available---but my fingers are crossed there will be a solution that works for everyone.

    12. Thorbjørn Kühl on February 5, 2012

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    13. Thorbjørn Kühl on February 5, 2012

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    14. Thorbjørn Kühl on February 5, 2012

      Yeah, it kinda feels like we get the short end of the deal, after being the the first backers. If we are the reason this film was made, then other films like it won't be made because why would people want to throw money after a project when they'll be the last people on earth to reap the rewards?

      It's like this, if you want to make more movies and have people support you, then take the film as it is now, put it up on a server and send everyone who supported a link so they can see it, someone said you had the best guerilla marketing, well that's nothing compared to the buzz this movie will get from some 700+ of the movies biggest supporters.

      Otherwise, we'll just go back to finding movies on thepiratebay, it's super easy, step 1: go to piratebay

    15. Chris Schreiber on February 5, 2012

      How about posting the film as a series of project updates that we could stream? Clearly, viewing on a small video feed is not an idea viewing environment---but that' so much more inclusive. Let us raise middle fingers for the right reasons, not the wrong reasons.

    16. Chris Schreiber on February 5, 2012

      2013? After it has appeared in theaters and on television? I am so excited to see this production, but I find this circumstance not in the spirit of why I donated or cared about getting involved. Surely you can consider an online streaming for the people who have followed this for a year? Perhaps you should explain this circumstances to Ai Weiwei and get his feedback---I'm not even being facetious when I say that. Please, invite us into the experience, don't let success get in the way. I only gave $10, but that has so little to do with why I want to see the film.

    17. David on February 4, 2012

      The end of 2013? I'm glad this project is funded, but I'm never going to donate to another film on Kickstarter again.

    18. Alek Shnayder on February 4, 2012

      2013 for the digital download? That's a bit of an excessive wait for what are essentially the crowd-sourced executive producers of the film.