Alison Klayman's 'Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry' to Open Hot Docs


TORONTO - U.S. filmmaker Alison Klayman's documentary Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry is to open the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival on April 26, organizers said Tuesday.

The portrait of the international Chinese artist and political dissident has already been picked up by IFC Films’ Sundance Selects label for a summer 2012 theatrical release after its bow at Sundance 2012.

There was no word on whether Weiwei will attend the Special Presentations gala screening in Toronto as the iconic artist plans his first trip outside of China since his detention.

Other Hot Doc titles direct from Sundance that were unveiled Tuesday include Bart Layton’s The Imposter, about the disappearance of a young Texan boy, James Swirsky and Lisanne Pajot’s Indie Game: The Movie, and Lauren Greenfield’s The Queen of Versailles.

Greenfield's portrait of an Orlando couple building America's largest home was acquired at Sundance by Sony Classics and Magnolia Picture.

Hot Docs also booked Kevin Macdonald’s Marley, about the late reggae giant Bob Marley, Christian Bonke and Andreas Koefoed’s Ballroom Dancer, and Yung Chang’s China Heavyweight, a portrait of a boxing coach training poor teens in rural China.

In all, 189 documentaries in 11 sidebars will unspool in Toronto from a record 51 countries.

In the competitive International Spectrum program, Toronto booked Bill Ross and Turner RossTchoupitoulas, Ra'anan Alexandrowicz’s The Law in These Parts, about the legal system in Israel’s occupied territories, and Elizabeth Mims and Jason Tippet’s Only The Young.

The World Showcase program is to screen Tiffany Sudela-Junker’s My Name is Faith, Beth Murphy’s The List, about an American’s crusade for refuge for his Iraqi colleagues, Alessandro Comodin’s Summer of Giacomo, and Peter Gerdehag’s Women With Cows, the story of two sisters and their dozen cows.

Hot Docs also plans a spotlight on documentaries form southeastern Europe, including Lena Müller and Dragan von Petrovic’s Dragan Wende – West Berlin, while the Next sidebar includes Will Lovelace and Dylan Southern’s Shut Up and Play the Hits, about Soundsystem front-man James Murphy, and Poull Brien’s Charles Bradley: Soul of America, a film about a 62-year-old illiterate James Brown impersonator from Brooklyn.

The 19th edition of the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival is set to run from April 26 to May 6 in Toronto.

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