Cai Guo-Qiang is an electrifying artist who creates massive drawings from fireworks, meant to unite Eastern philosophy and contemporary social issues. Most famous for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, Cai Guo-Qiang explores the connections between the human and the cosmic, destruction and creation, the eternal and the fleeting. The film follows the artist across the globe as he creates large-scale, visually stunning new work with explosives, and it traces his rise from an ordinary child growing up in China during the Cultural Revolution to the art superstar that he is today.
With unfettered access, filmmaker Kevin Macdonald combines the artist’s intimate reflections with interviews from friends, family, and members of the art world. Vérité footage of Cai's artistic process culminates in his final realization of a lifelong pursuit: Sky Ladder, a visionary, explosive event that he pulls off in his hometown in China after 20 years of failed attempts. Kevin Macdonald’s superbly constructed, luminous film captures for posterity the brilliance of an artist whose ephemeral work is, by its nature, completely of the moment.
Kevin Macdonald's first feature, One Day in September, won an Academy Award for Best Documentary, and Touching the Void received a BAFTA for Best British Film. Additional credits include Marley, Life in a Day, The Last King of Scotland, State of Play, How I Live Now, and Black Sea. He recently completed the pilot for 11.22.63. Kevin’s latest film, Sky Ladder: the Art of Cai Guo-Qiang, follows the renowned Chinese artist across the globe.