(Q&A with the filmmakers after screening)
Following his detention by Chinese authorities, outspoken artist/activist Ai Weiwei transformed the former island penitentiary of Alcatraz into an artistic platform. The exhibition engaged 900,000 visitors about the plight of prisoners of conscience around the world. Yours Truly, a piece in the exhibit, invited visitors to compose messages of hope on postcards to prisoners incarcerated or exiled due to their beliefs, affiliations, and nonviolent expressions of dissent. The film follows these postcards around the globe as director Cheryl Haines meets with former prisoners of conscience and their families to discuss their impossible choices and the comfort they found in messages sent by people they would never meet. The film explores Ai Weiwei’s inspiration for the project. Interviews with the artist, his mother, and lifelong friends uncover the touching story of a childhood spent in exile. Ultimately, the film is a call to action, extending the reach of Ai Weiwei’s art by asking viewers to take to heart the issue of global human rights. In Mandarin and English with English subtitles.