You are on page 1of 13

a secret sci-fi film shot in China • 沙尘暴 starring Ai Weiwei

THE SAND STORM (沙尘暴) is a dystopian science fiction film set in the not-too-distant future. It is
a low-fi sci-fi short, made in China under the radar, starring the dissident artist Ai Weiwei in his acting
debut (playing a smuggler in a world without water); shot by Christopher Doyle (“In the Mood for
Love,” “Chungking Express,” “Hero”); written and directed by Jason Wishnow (the filmmaker behind
“TED Talks”).

Each time you help us hit a milestone, you unlock additional rewards and behind-the-scenes
materials. And if you're just joining us…

My name is Jason and for the longest time I wanted to make my own films, so I left my job and my
home to fly from New York to a city I’d never been to before, Beijing. I chose China for creative solitude
because I’m easily distracted and had heard the Internet would be blocked for me, perfect for writing.
Next thing you know …

Beijing felt like the future, not cool and sleek (that’s Shanghai) but dim and gritty.

“What can we do together?” I seized on an unexpected opportunity to pitch a film. early one morning. I now also needed to track down: . as told through the lens of a personal. then held him under house arrest. the police kept him in captivity for 81 days. This was a real opportunity to create something truly meaningful. Already the subject of an Oscar-nominated documentary. and asked how fast I could write the screenplay. I was invited to meet: AI WEIWEI • 艾未未 • HE HAS BEEN CALLED “The Most Powerful Artist in the World” and “China’s Most Dangerous Man” for his massive art installations (Beijing’s “Birdsnest” Olympic Stadium of 2008) and his vocal political criticism (in 2011. Ai Weiwei would play a smuggler in a world without water.Back when I ran TED’s video department. this would mark his acting debut. confided he loved sci-fi. He listened. a secret TED Talk was smuggled out of China—directly to me. human drama. he remains without a passport). An hour into our first conversation (about the flow of information and the collateral damage of uncertainty) he leaned in close and asked. That’s partly why.

they had never met either. a frequent collaborator with Wong Kar-wai and Gus Van Sant. Soon. but the movie could only look beautiful. We had never met. a man whose eye shaped the aesthetic of Asian cinema. Though a contemporary of Ai Weiwei’s.CHRISTOPHER DOYLE • 杜可⾵風 • THE STORY would be dark. The one cinematographer I wanted was the first I ever knew by name. . both had copies of my script … translated into Mandarin (北京话).

too? Every contribution counts. music. festival submission fees. the weather fell below freezing and on a scale of 1-500 (smoggy days in Los Angeles register 60-90). our shoot might not be safe which meant anyone who didn’t decline. We had no time for fundraising. Finally. NOW WE NEED YOU because we still have hard costs related to visual effects.Doyle and Ai agreed to the script the same day. mix. This was the climate in which we operated. WHY KICKSTARTER? WHY NOW? WHY $33. and … is your head spinning. subtitles. instead demanded cash in advance. but with the odds stacked against us: All of China was about to shut down for the holidays giving us two weeks exactly to find the rest of our cast and crew or we would be forced into production limbo indefinitely. pollution indexes hit a record 800. . sound design. Given the subject and the star.000? We needed to keep the film a secret and didn’t want anything sabotaged so we decided to postpone crowdfunding until AFTER we wrapped. color correction.

you’ll help pay off our remaining production expenses. of which this short will form an early chapter. renting equipment. Our final. Beyond that. . We went at it alone. others covered by short-term loans. you'll contribute to the early development of a feature film spanning the globe.WHAT IF WE EXCEED OUR KICKSTARTER GOAL? THAT WOULD BE AMAZING!! If you fund this project beyond $33k. building sets. total cost will be around $90k (about 3x our Kickstarter goal … yikes). hiring a local cast and crew … some payments were deferred.

Los Angeles.FINISHING THE SAND STORM There won’t be any WARS OVER WATER for at least a decade but this film can be ready in a matter of weeks. . San Francisco. but in London. with credits ranging from “The Hobbit” to “Lost in Translation”) are donating their time and resources. and New York. So many wonderful people have helped make the impossible possible. Incredibly talented industry professionals (not just in Beijing. Shanghai. scrambling to finish the film so we can (hopefully!) premiere at a high profile festival … and online.

WE RECORDED AN ORIGINAL SCORE with a 28-piece string orchestra at London’s landmark Abbey Road. REALLY? Yes. We’ll be sharing more details in a future update. HOW WELL DO YOU KEEP YOUR SECRETS? . a studio kept historically and acoustically identical to when the Beatles last used it. ALL THIS FOR A TEN MINUTE FILM? Yes. One performer (pictured) is playing the viola from “Eleanor Rigby” (sitting somewhere in the middle).

We told ALMOST no one. novels. Ok. and late-night television. Because he instagrammed it: .THIS WAS UNFAMILIAR TERRITORY. One of my first meetings with Ai Weiwei was interrupted by plainclothes police interrogators whisking him away. The crew used code names and ever-shifting modes of communication. We told no one what we were up to. tapping cloak-and-dagger pulp-fiction playbooks on loan from movies.

We hope you will join in our adventure and SPREAD THE WORD as we wrap and release THE SAND STORM.TIME TO TELL EVERYONE THE DAYS OF SECRETS ARE LONG OVER. Please share this page on Twitter and and LIKE it on Facebook! .

YOUR CONTRIBUTION MEANS SO MUCH Aww thanks (in advance. . and at the risk of sounding like every other Kickstarter campaign. we’re giving away special gifts connected with the project. even for reading this far). but we’re talking SUPER ARTSY REWARDS … custom action figures (!!!) … access to behind-the-scenes footage … still frames … and a few surprises.

OUR ULTIMATE GOAL IS TO ENTERTAIN Even today. We did it in 29 hrs! All thanks to you! YOU UNLOCKED A NEW REWARD (The Shadow Box!!!) ANNNND previously unseen footage of the Most Dangerous Barber in the World! Guess who likes to cut hair? . and information obstruction exist around the world. These complex issues provide the backdrop for an open-ended story. poor air quality. – – Thank you! – – Jason Wishnow and the entire 沙尘暴 Team THE FIRST MILESTONE >> UNLOCKED! 1/3 of our $33k goal in 3 days. especially if we go at it together. But first. we need to finish the short. water shortages. it's going to be awesome. Whatever’s next. and our art house sci-fi short is the set-up for an eventual full-length feature film.

and sharing this campaign. tweeting.You can help us reach Milestone: #2 ($33k and 1000 supporters) by liking. THE SECOND MILESTONE >> UNLOCKED! Thank you so much! And so: here’s your Saturday morning cartoon! Bill McMullen’s “study” for the exclusive 沙尘暴 action figure inspired by the film’s mysterious Water Smuggler character. .

$33k in 33 days seemed ambitious enough. not just post! Please like. We realized we needed a STRETCH GOAL and were going to go for $50k … but before we said anything you blew past that on day 4 … CRAZY! Right!??? Hence our NEW MILESTONE and FIRST STRETCH GOAL: The CRAZY-88k! You in?? (within 11 days of launch help us cover all costs. and share this new milestone. we hit it in 3 days (and 2 hrs).) . tweet. Incredible. Thanks to you.

Related Interests