Private Project

2017.12.10 - Nothing Like the Sun

In the mid-20th century, a lesbian estranged by her family struggles to get them back by falsely adopting the faith of a Christian household where she takes shelter, but finds herself infatuated with their daughter.

Work-in-progress cut (2017.12.10)
Production Company: Horsehead Cinema
Director: Nguyen N.
Producer(s): Steven Joshua Morrison, Nguyen N.

  • Nguyen N.
    Aftermath, The Raven, Wild Arms
  • Steven Joshua Morrison
    The Home of Split Pea Soup (2007), Smiles (2009)
  • Nguyen N.
  • Steven Joshua Morrison
  • Nguyen N.
  • Keyan Miao
    Shattering (2016)
  • Nguyen N.
  • Stefanie Estes
    Key Cast
    "Alice Mitchell"
    Mary Last Seen (2010), When Harry Tries to Marry (2011), Oscar Week (2013)
  • Sarah Navratil
    Key Cast
    "Lillian Johnson"
    Lady Windermere's Fan (2014), Cloudy with a Chance of Sunshine (2016), Entirely Accidental (2016)
  • Olivia Howell
    Key Cast
    Catch 22: Based on the Unwritten Story by Seanie Sugrue (2016), Kiss the Girls (2014)
  • Marshal Hilton
    Supporting Cast
    Stressed to Kill (2016), I Am Alone (2015), The Bunnyman Massacre (2014)
  • Travis Grant
    Supporting Cast
    Angels of Mercy (2012), Jackknife County: Welcome, Pretty Boy (2015), Jackknife County: Liars, Cheats and Poker Chips (2015)
  • Arlan Godthaab
    Supporting Cast
    Hamlet's Ghost (2015), Cooker (2016), The Skull Rosary of Frao' Ranggoh (2012)
  • Richard Neil
    Supporting Cast
    Best Wishes for Tomorrow (2007), Entourage (2004), Veronica Mars (2006)
  • Kelly Hancock
    Supporting Cast
    I Don't (2014), Protocol 734 (2016), September Skies (2016)
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Period Drama
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 39 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    December 6, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    300,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    RED 5K RAW
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards
    Los Angeles, California
    United States
    Best All Genre Feature
  • BLOW-UP International Arthouse Film Festival
    Chicago, Illinois
    United States
  • Los Angeles Film Awards
    Los Angeles, California
    United States
    Best Narrative Feature, Best Actress
  • Hollywood International Moving Pictures Film Festival
    Hollywood, California
    United States
Director Biography - Nguyen N.

United States film producer, director and editor. A University of California Santa Barbara graduate in Film and Gender Studies, Nguyen started his film career in the editing room splicing 16mm film on a Steenbeck machine. He also has a background in Computer Science, Web Design, and Accounting. His other interests include horology, literature, and chess.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

“Nothing Like The Sun” started as a documentary project on insane asylums titled “Misfit Affection” based on the 1892 Alice Mitchell Trial under the same newspaper headline (later also known under its alternative title "Darkness at Noon"), which painted the picture of a Tennessee murderess who gained national notoriety after killing her female lover for betraying her – a subject that had piqued my curiosity during my college years at UCSB. Though it would be inaccurate to say that my interest in Alice Mitchell was even remotely rooted in Sapphistries, a topic she and I have nothing in common, her social pathology is inherently relatable: a character living outside of their time but also existing in it, ebbing against the flow of history; a detached tale of modern alienation universally understood.

Although the concrete details of Alice Mitchell’s life have been obscured by the passage of time, and further obscured through "dramatic” storytelling, I was confident her struggle to cope with the social reality of the world she lived in would provide an authenticity unique to her situation: a person is a product of the era they are born into; one does what is right for them, and they commit to play to the hand they are dealt. Connecting the historical sections of the screenplay to our larger shared history required Alice be a character fascinating to observe, though not necessarily a character we can empathize with. Her battle with herself reminds us that the best outcomes do not necessarily come from the best choices, and vice-versa.

While the story’s world and constructs are specific to Alice’s character, I did not approach it as a “small” film or even as an “independent” film. It was not intended to sway one’s social, religious or political beliefs; and there is nothing groundbreaking about it. The film’s narrative unfolds in a rather conventional way. What has been will be again. As Wernher von Braun stated, “history [nature] does not know extinction; all it knows is transformation.”

But remember that though Nothing Like The Sun is based on a true story, it is still only fiction. One can only guess at what drove nineteen-year-old Alice Mitchell on January 25, 1892 to slit Freda Ward’s throat and leave her to die in a pool of her own blood. Or what kind of society it was that conspired to drive her to madness by keeping her in ignorance of her own character and emotions; and ironically, as a result, kept this society in the dark about its own inner workings. History has, after all, proven that truth is often stranger.

Nguyen N.
August 13, 2016