Artist Ai Weiwei to release documentary on refugee crisis

BERN (Reuters) - Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei plans to release a film about the migrant crisis next year, adding to the celebrity voices seeking to highlight the plight of refugees.

Ai, known for his criticism of China’s human rights record, visited camps, such as Idomeni on the Greek-Macedonian border, in the last few months where he said he had witnessed a very difficult situation and wanted to share the experience.

“It’s a documentary film, we have been shooting (for) over 600 hours, I did hundreds of interviews,” Ai told reporters in Bern.

“The film is going to come out next year. Now we are still doing last (shoots) since the refugee situation is continuous, it doesn’t seem (like) it is going to stop.”

Ai was speaking at a news conference at the Paul Klee center regarding the “Chinese Whispers” exhibition featuring works by contemporary Chinese artists.

Hollywood stars like Angelina Jolie and Orlando Bloom are among celebrities who have visited refugee camps to underline the ongoing crisis as people fleeing conflict and poverty in the Middle East and other countries have flooded into Europe since 2015.

Reporting by Cecile Mantovani in Bern; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian in London, editing by Ed Osmond