Sometimes a filmmaker can do everything right in creating a great piece of art and it is still not enough. Even if you have a great film, the most important factor may be getting others to see it. The “Mona Lisa” and Kilmt’s “The Kiss” don’t hang in a closet. Even though a film may have the opportunity to be seen on many platforms, getting a film into the proper festival (gaining attention and investors) can often make the most difference in this production and the filmmakers continuing work. The process of creating a film takes many talented and specialized professionals to actually manifest. When the creator of Nothing Like the Sun (Nyugen) found himself in the quagmire of having something he knew was special but not receiving the reaction it was worthy of, he called on Distribution Producer Colour Keyan Miao to act as a “fixer” and help crack this code. Miao’s work and success with Nothing Like the Sun is an example to all filmmakers experiencing this very common obstacle. The unwarranted obscurity of this film was cast aside to reveal an acclaimed story which is receiving a great deal of buzz, much in part due to Colour’s insight about how to gain the appropriate attention.
After finishing Nothing Like the Sun, its director (Nguyen) submitted it to a number of different festivals with very little success. When some of his peers suggested that he enlist the abilities of Miao, he conceded that directing and producing might actually be two separate skill sets. After viewing and analyzing the film, Colour confirmed that she had a well-designed approach that she was certain would be successful for this production.
Nothing Like the Sun is a period piece. The main character, Alice Mitchell, and several others are based on real historical figures. Mitchell was a 19th century American murderess from Memphis, Tennessee who slit the throat of her best friend Freda Myra Ward for rejecting her marriage proposal. She was convicted and sentenced to an insane asylum. Lillian Johnson, a friend of Alice and Freda, was also implicated in the trial. Annabel was based on "Miss A." (Annabel Lyndstrom-Pier), a subject in case study 155 in Krafft- Ebing's "Psychopathia Sexualis" which was one of the first comprehensive studies outlining deviant sexual behaviors. The drama and horror of the storyline displays the darker side of love and relationships. While not always a harmonious one, the relationship between Alice and Freda communicates that even long ago there were members of the LGBQT community living amongst other members of society in the US. These two key factors convinced Miao that the film had great potential.
Colour’s plan rejected the more commercial film festivals. Still, Nothing Like the Sun is not a modern LGBQT story, something which many of the LGBQT festivals avoid. Miao saw the film as a piece of art more than a comment on current day situations. Submitting it to Blow-Up Chicago International Arthouse Film Fest resulted in the film’s first nomination. Accolades, such as Best Narrative Feature Film from the Los Angeles Film Awards, began to accumulate. By understanding what type of film audience (not necessarily the most obvious one) would be interested in the story of Nothing Like the Sun, Colour was able to gain entry into many festivals such as the Raindance Festival, Burbank International Film Festival, and the Hollywood International Moving Pictures Film Festival; resulting in the payoff of attention and investment.
The nucleus of what worked so well for this film is the fact that the distribution producer left all preconceived notions behind and watched the film with no agenda in order to comprehend where it belonged. This might seem overly obvious and yet it’s difficult for many creative professionals to discard what they want a project to be versus what it has become. The ability to be open in how the film spoke to her allowed Colour (and the film) to achieve a renewed life and success. She relates, “I watched it three times before submitting this film to anything. I truly liked the film. Even though I’m not a lesbian, when I watched the film from Alice’s POV, I can still feel the pain she suffered. I really hope this film can bring attention to this lifestyle. I believe human emotions are communicable. Even if you watch the story and don’t agree with some choices, you can still relate to certain ideas. There are so many ways to fight for human rights and equality; I believe that making a movie can definitely count as one.”