Released in September of this year, Tinhead is a great movie. In fact, it’s one of those movies which seemed fate was determined to eviscerate; an outcome that may have happened if not for the determination of producer Sunny Xiang. Every extraordinary work of art struggles against a looming specter that seems to whisper, “Only if you fight through the storm can you appreciate what you have in your possession.”
While that may sound hyperbolic, consider that even a “normal” production takes talented professionals working ridiculous hours to actually create a form that the public can view. Tinhead saw far more than the typical obstacles and it was Sunny who always kept the forward momentum, creating new possibilities when other avenues had been exhausted. She is the most effective type of artist; one whom believes the story worth creating must be seen to completion in order to enlighten the public.
There are many ways to be an activist; one of these is exposing the public to the personal obstacles faced by others. Though she feels most at home with the moniker of producer, distributor, Sunny’s work in creating Tinhead achieves the result of informing the public through the experiences of the characters in this film which reflect a very real and painful social problem that many people contend with. Xiang was inspired to take on the producer and distributor role because of the message of Tinhead.
She points to her previous experience working with director Stephen Inniss on the Comedy film Mix It Proper (which earned a number of awards from the Global Film Festival Awards, LA Shorts Awards, Los Angeles Film Awards, and Top Indie Film Awards) as the other major factor which convinced her.
The producer and distributor confides, “Filmmaking for me is rather a life-time pursuit than a simple job. I love filmmaking and I deem it challenging but fulfilling. The most intriguing part in filmmaking is that I can make a good story into a film from nothing and make it welcomed by lots of people. This film revealed the father-daughter relationship and the aging parents supporting problem. My original intention in making this film was to draw more attention to these issues.”
Tinhead stars Alison Miller, Joseph Miller, Joe Coffey, and Kue Lawrence (of Golden Globe nominated film Beautiful Boy starring Steve Carell) as family members dealing with the patriarch’s dementia and its effect on them. The family tries to decide whether keeping their aging and confused father at home or if he is better served by the professional attention offered in an assisted living facility; a decision all too familiar with many people these days.
The deeply moving portrayal of this subject matter has already resulted in numerous awards for Tinhead which includes wins at the Los Angeles Film Awards 2020 (Winner-Drama), London Independent Film Awards 2020-Award Winner (Best Foreign Short), LA Shorts Awards (Silver Award-Short Film), and the 7th San Francisco International New Concept Film Festival (Excellent Short Narrative Film).
Nominations from the Anatolia International Film Festival, Top Indie Film Awards, Burbank International Film Festival and Salento International Film Festival 2020 continue to increase the excitement around Tinhead in the film community. It’s in the exciting moments of these industry events that Sunny Xiang is reminded that the response of an audience to a great story is why she takes on tasks which might seem insurmountable, most definitely uncomfortable at times.
Spontaneously rescheduling auditions for the best options, sleeping overnight in her car to ensure she didn’t miss the opportunity to catch the right person and persuade them to allow filming locations, and the complete gamut of day-to-day responsibilities which completely consumes the life of a producer and distributor who is single-minded in delivering the optimal version of a film; Sunny is tenacious when signing on to every production which she believes in.
She also does brilliant work on film festival choices during distribution. She is certainly applying this approach to the two productions which November 2020 finds her immersed in; a Feature Documentary titled Children from the Mountain and the film The Last Letter. Though this year finds most of the film industry at a standstill, producer Sunny Xiang has found a means to still pursue her passion for filmmaking.
Writer: Angela Cooper