Sunny Zhao, an Emmy Award-winning director and founder of Dreams Factory, has the reputation of telling a story with remarkable visual style and artistic sensibility. His love for filmmaking, commercial directing, and shooting occupies nearly every waking moment. When not filming, you’ll find him researching film, music, art, fashion, history, and the latest film technology.
Growing up in an artistic family, Sunny spent part of his early childhood on an abandoned art compound in China, where he explored ghostly film sets, performance halls, and rehearsal studios. It was this quiet and contemplative atmosphere that fostered his imagination. He taught himself how to paint in various mediums and won the “Rising Young Artist” award when he was 11 years old. Upon graduating from middle school, through competition, he was selected to attend the prestigious Shenyang Conservatory of Music to study classical music full time. After a successful 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.
Whether the project is thirty seconds long or three hours in length, Sunny is a believer in applying his dedication and drive one hundred percent. Sunny strives to capture the beauty and meaning in each element, weaving the footage together with great depth and complexity to create a visual journey that the viewer would want to experience again and again. He has created TV ad campaigns for clients such as Seiko Watch, Walmart, GEICO, UPS, Miller Lite, CCTV of China, Virginia Lottery and Virginia Tourism, and many others. His artistic skills, deep understanding of music, and creativity have brought him to a place where he is being recognized for his unique talent.
Sunny's latest work is a full length feature film titled "Gift", which tells an extraordinary story about music, love, tragedy, and friendship. “Gift” just premiered at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. It is a great showcase of his talent in both music and visual arts.
Tim Dowdle is the executive producer at Dreams Factory. He also holds a seat on the Board of Directors of The Virginia Production Alliance and the Committee for Workforce Development for film industry in Virginia.
He hails from Kansas City where one of his pivotal high school experiences was working as an assistant manager at a movie theater. It was this exposure to a seemingly endless amount of motion pictures that initiated his real passion for film. After attending Kansas University he moved to the East Coast, living in Annapolis, MD for a period of time, followed by a move to Virginia where he started to work for Dreams Factory in the early 2000s.
Tim has an affinity for anticipating agency and client requirements, as well as the artistic needs of the creative team members; he is the voice of calmness under pressure. Having experienced the production business from all aspects and positions, he has a solid understanding of every department and the sheer amount of teamwork that is required to turn a great concept into an award-winning piece of work.