Schedule of Screenings


A Series of Documentaries by Ai Weiwei
Monday, October 29th- Friday, November 2nd, 2012
Smith Hall, Room 120, University of Washington, Seattle campus


Question and Answer sessions following screenings led by University of Washington faculty (as time permits).

The East Asia Center of the University of Washington, in conjunction with the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, is proud to present a series of five rare films by acclaimed artist Ai Weiwei. Known for his work designing the Birds Nest stadium for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and lately his political activism, Ai Weiwei is China’s best known artist, working in media such as architectural design, film, photography, and performance. These five films are rare, and are being shown for only the second time in the United States.

  • Fairytale
    October 29, 2012 
    Smith 120
    152 min.

    Fairytale documents Ai Weiwei’s project of the same name for Europe’s most innovative art event, documenta 12, in Kassel, Germany in 2007. Ai Weiwei invited 1001 Chinese citizens of different ages and from various backgrounds to live in an abandoned factory for a massive-scale performance art project. This 152-minute film documents the whole process, from the preparations for the project to the challenges the participants had to face before actually travelling to Germany, as well as the artist’s ideas behind the work.

  • Disturbing the Peace
    October 30, 2012 
    Smith 120
    78 min.

    Tan Zuoren is a civil rights advocate who investigated the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, including the deaths of 512 Wenchuan students, and the corruption which resulted in poor building construction. For his efforts, he was charged with “inciting subversion of state power” and during his trial, police violently detained witnesses. He was sentenced to five years in prison. Disturbing the Peace is a confrontational film, with Ai Weiwei directly taking on the police and other authorities, and paying a heavy price for doing so.

  • Ordos 100
    October 31, 2012
    Smith 120
    61 min.

    Ordos 100 is a massive construction project in inner Mongolia, curated by Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei, who had previously worked together on Beijing’s “Bird’s Nest” stadium. One hundred architects from 27 countries were chosen to design a 1000-square-meter villa to be built in a new community. The 100 villas would be designed to fit a master plan designed by Ai Weiwei. In January 2008, the 100 architects gathered in Ordos for a first visit to the site. The film documents a total of three site visits, during which time the master plan and design of each villa was completed. As of this date, the Ordos 100 project remains unrealized.

  • So Sorry
    November 1, 2012 
    Smith 120
    55 min.

    In this  documentary, Ai Weiwei travels to Chengdu to be a witness at the trial of the civil rights advocate Tan Zuoren, whom we first encountered in Disturbing the Peace. After being beaten by the police, Ai Weiwei traveled to Munich, Germany to prepare his exhibition at the Haus der Kunst museum. The result of his beating led to intense headaches caused by a brain hemorrhage, which was treated by emergency surgery. These events mark the beginning of Ai Weiwei’s struggle and surveillance by state police.


  • One Recluse
    November 2, 2012 
    Smith 120
    123 min.

    In June 2008, Yang Jia carried a knife, a hammer, a gas mask, pepper spray, gloves, and Molotov cocktails to the Zhabei Public Security Branch Bureau and killed six officers, injuring another and a guard. He was arrested on the scene and subsequently charged with intentional homicide. In the following six months, while Yang Jia was detained and trials were being held, his mother mysteriously disappeared. Ai Weiwei traces the reasons and motivations behind the tragedy and investigates a trial process filled with shady cover-ups and questionable decisions. The film provides a glimpse into the realities of a government-controlled judicial system and its impact on the lives of citizens.

    Film descriptions courtesy of


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