The panel, mostly composed of film industry professionals, each year reserves one seat for an artist outside of film, which Ai will fill, organizers announced Monday.
Festival director Git Scheynius said the artist was chosen for the panel to symbolize the repression of artists and journalists.
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The political activist is hard to reach: He is without Internet access and his travel outside of China is prohibited, according to reports. Still, festival officials hope he'll somehow be able to participate.
"We still look forward to welcoming Ai Weiwei to the festival and hope the Chinese authorities will lift his travel prohibition," Scheynius said.
The annual festival, which this year will focus on the theme of freedom, will run Nov. 6 to 17 with more than 180 films from over 50 countries in competition.
Ai, a free speech and human rights proponent who has openly criticized the Chinese government, spent 81 days in jail in 2011 without official charges being filed.
The artist and his secret detention were also the subject of the 2012 documentary