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Sunshine by Doug Nichol

Short movie explores the mindset of the middle age freelance ad man shooting a McDonald’s ad in Shanghai. Realism, disappointment, uncertainty, and the hard-earned wisdom of the creative pro

Sunshine, the title of this documentary, captures the gentle irony of this movie by Partizan commercials and video director Doug Nichol about his longtime friend, producer John Benet.

The short movie has been featuring in festivals and Nichol has now post online. The relationship between the director and the subject encourages a kind of disarming honesty from Benet:

On Ads vs Movies

“A movie can’t be a bunch of images strung together, but an ad you can kind of get away with that.”

On having an Eye

“You can have a whole career in advertising and not be able to string a lot of thoughts together, if you have a great eye. That is key.”

Good? Bad? Crazy?

“Is this a good script or a bad script? I dunno it’s just a crazy script and for that reason I loved it.”

Filmmakers vs Hustlers

“Some directors are filmmakers, some are hustlers.”

And the title? To misquote Bill Withers, there ain’t no sunshine in this movie. More like sun-setting, which gives it a clarity and a poignancy. The title comes form those propaganda posters from Chairman Mao’s cultural reovolution where Mao is pictured in a red halo of sun. “Chairman Mao is the red sun in our minds” quotes Benet on the 1960s posters of heroic Chinese factory workers and farmers. But over 40 years later, Benet notes, “Instead of a hoe, they are holding a spicy chicken sandwich.”

Thanks Atlantic Magazine

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