Ai Weiwei’s segment was cut from ‘Berlin, I Love You’ to appease China, artist and producers say

Melissa Chan:

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei’s contribution to the film anthology “Berlin, I Love You” was cut from the final version released in the U.S. earlier this month. The artist and two producers say it’s because his participation was seen as a liability for securing future funding and access to China.

“The reason we were given for the episode’s removal,” Ai said, “was that my political status had made it difficult for the production team.”

The Berlin film is the latest in the series of “Cities in Love” filmmaker collaborations, which previously included New York and Paris.

Ai was blindsided. His segment had been the first completed. He only learned it had been deleted after the release of the film.

“I was completely shocked when I learned the news,” he said. “To cut the part they used to say they loved the most.”

In the course of his own query, he said he learned that one of the executive producers involved in “Berlin, I Love You” intended to create a Shanghai installment of the series and felt that an association with Ai, who frequently speaks out against the Chinese government, would reduce the chances for the next project’s access to the country.

Claus Clausen and Edda Reiser, two of the film’s producers, confirmed Ai’s story, adding that there had been no creative differences.

“It was a very special project, especially the Ai Weiwei segment,” Clausen said. “I am furious that it’s not in there.”