Brian Brooks is managing editor of MovieLine.
Two 2012 Sundance Film Festival documentaries hit the specialty market this coming weekend. Competition titles Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry and Big Boys Gone Bananas!* will add to 2012’s lineup of non-fiction fare which has seen box office success with Bully and Jiro Dreams of Sushi. LD Entertainment is attempting to make proverbial lemonade out of its NC-17 rating for Killer Joe, which has had audiences clamoring for tickets at festivals and other events. Drafhouse Films is banking on its Danish comedy Klown to cross over for U.S. specialty audiences and possibly break out further, while Ruby Sparks sailed into Fox Searchlight after an easy shoot for a story that will appeal to 18-35s (or 40s).
An American freelance journalist who lived in China from 2006 to 2010, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry director Alison Klayman first met the famed Chinese artist Ai Weiwei through her roommate who asked her to put together a short video for an art show of Ai’s New York photographs while in Beijing. She quickly realized there was more to tell. “I just felt like to do a character portrait of him would really not only be entertaining but also it would illuminate something about a side of contemporary China that I felt like I was just encountering for the first time through him,” said Klayman. “So I was definitely feeling that at least I needed to follow up with this guy and he liked the video that I did for the exhibition. So that was also a good way to keep moving forward.”