Telluride: Fandor Acquires Sci-Fi Short ‘The Sand Storm’ Starring Ai Weiwei

EXCLUSIVE: Indie film subcription service Fandor has acquired sci-fi short film The Sand Storm ahead of its Telluride debut this weekend, and has set a day and date release coinciding with its world premiere this Sunday, August 31. The narrative short is directed by Jason Wishnow, the filmmaker behind the viral idea-fostering TED Talks. It co-stars Chinese art star Ai Weiwei (Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry) in the dystopian tale of a city facing a water crisis in the near future, told from the perspectives of a woman, a man, a lover and a water smuggler. Wishnow co-wrote the script with Li-Anne Huang.

Fandor is the indie subscription VOD service that independent producer Ted Hope took the reins of in January. The company will make The Sand Storm available online on simultaneous to its world premiere at Telluride this Sunday at 4pm MT. Earlier this summer the filmmakers launched a Kickstarter campaign to pay for the production and finishing costs after filming, but Weiwei objected to use of his image and name to raise funds and had it frozen. Wishnow flew to China and issued a humble apology before getting his Kickstarter back on track and the campaign overperformed three times over, making $101,065 of its initial $33,000 goal.

Hu Jianing, Li Ning, and Bai Yao also star in the 10-minute film. The Sand Storm release is the third short this year to see a day-and-date festival and VOD debut on Fandor, extending audience reach far beyond the film festival circuit. Previously, Fandor accquired and released Daniel Laabs’ Easy out of SXSW and Todd Rohal’s Rat Pack Rat out of Sundance.

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