Sunny Zhao

Director, Cinematographer, Writer

Sunny Zhao, an Emmy Award­-winning director and Chinese-American filmmaker, has the reputation of telling a story with remarkable visual style and artistic sensibility. Growing up in China as the son of two artists, Sunny began painting and sketching at the age of three, and taught himself how to paint in various mediums. He won the “Rising Young Artist” award when he was eleven years old and started taking piano lessons around the same time. Upon graduating middle school, he was selected through competition to attend the prestigious Shenyang Conservatory of Music to study classical music full time. After a notable music career as a pop vocalist, Sunny moved to the U.S. and founded Dreams Factory, a successful boutique production company, to pursue his passion for visual arts.

Since then, Sunny has made numerous television ad campaigns, music videos, and documentaries, many of which have garnered awards and recognition, including the Emmy Award, among others. In 2011, Sunny and Dreams Factory were commissioned to make  KEEPERS OF THE FLAME, a historical film showcasing the founding fathers and the history of one of America’s first capitol buildings. It is the introductory film as part of an ongoing exhibit at the Virginia capitol. Recently, Sunny was selected out of several other international directors to direct BELT AND ROAD, a ninety second promo film involving hundreds of cast and crew, filmed throughout Europe and Asia. It was played during the opening of the Belt and Road Initiative summit, which was attended by over sixty-eight world leaders. It is currently airing on CCTV of China, as well as broadcast outlets across the globe.  

GIFT, Sunny’s passion project, is a full length feature film, which tells an extraordinary story about music, love, tragedy, and friendship. GIFT was screened at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival and has recently been chosen as an Official Selection of the 2018 Raindance Film Festival and the 2018 Virginia Film Festival. It is a great showcase of his talent in both music and visual arts. GIFT is his first feature film.