The Chinese artist made use of drones to capture the flow of refugees in his latest documentary


Drones have been transforming Hollywood films for a few years now with directors like Martin Scorsese and Sam Mendes using them to capture aerial shots.

But Ai Weiwei has gone a step further and made them a central part of his latest film, Human Flow, in order to follow the journeys taken by refugees across 23 countries.

The Chinese artist filmed the expansive shots to show the scale of the refugee crisis and the stories of people forced to leave their homes.

His documentary combines shots of refugees over the course of one year from Kenya to Greece alongside a narrative of quotes and poetry.

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The trailer portrays some powerful footage with shots above refugee camps, showcasing the thousands of life jackets left on the shore to capture the sheer amount of displacement.

Reviews of the film released so far focus on the compelling use of these shots, which are combined with Steadicam footage and handheld camera work.

Indeed, Ai told Reuters ahead of the premiere that footage shot on his iPhone in Greece inspired him to make the documentary.

He said: “I was on vacation with my son in Lesbos, we saw the boat approaching, I started using my iPhone and started shooting.”

The film, which was made by a crew of 200 people, premiered at the Venice Film Festival and is set for UK release in December.