“Human Flow”: Participant Media and AC Films Collaborate with Ai Weiwei to Make Refugee Film

On February 10th, 2017, Robert Mitchell of Variety reported that on Friday at the Berlin Film Festival, Participant Media and AC Films partnered with Chinese filmmaker Ai Weiwei on his feature documentary, “Human Flow” (Mitchell 2017). Weiwei has described the work as a “big global study on refugees” over the past 12 months. The film is currently in post.

“There is no better place than being here in Berlin at this critical moment to announce this powerful film to a global audience,” said David Linde, CEO of Participant Media. “We are thrilled to be working with an artist and filmmaker of Ai Weiwei’s caliber and exceptional vision to tell this essential story” (Mitchell 2017).

The film explores the current refugee crises through interviews and footage from 22 countries and Ai says: “There is no refugee crisis, only a human crisis…We can see in dealing with refugees we lost our very basic values. ‘Human Flow’ is a personal journey, an attempt to understand the conditions of humanity in our days” (Mitchell 2017).

This documentary, which will be an essential part in understanding the refugee crisis, which is, as Mr. Weiwei described, a human crisis. For in the darkest hours of our existence, we seem to capture them in a meaningful and poetic way that pulls our hearts to being more Christlike to our fellow man. What is hoped for this film is not so much a political statement, or a protest in policy, but an understanding of the human conditions that led to this exodus of human being so that the policies can change to better assist these people. The fear is more political drama from documentaries such as this, and while they are important and necessary to the conversation, they have the ability to fall dangerously close to the echochambers from which they were birthed into.

Let us hope that this film educates in a manner that is not politically damning to one side or the other, but in a manner that let’s all who view it, understand the human condition and the heart, more.

Work Cited

Mitchell, Robert. “Berlinale: Ai Weiwei Teams With Participant Media and AC Films on Refugee Documentary.” Variety. N.p., 10 Feb. 2017. Web. 10 Feb. 2017.


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