FilmRise Acquires “The Sunshine Makers” Documentary, About Two Men Who Set Out To Save The World — With LSD

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May 25, 2016 
—  FilmRise has acquired the exclusive worldwide rights to The Sunshine Makers,  This acclaimed documentary tells the story of Nick Sand and Tim Scully, two men who believed that LSD was the answer to the world’s problems — and set out to solve those problems by manufacturing an astonishing amount of the psychedelic drug during the 1960s and 1970s.

They believed that the drug “expanded the mind” — and, of course, that mind-expansion was a good thing. They set out to create 750 million doses of “Orange Sunshine,” an extremely pure form of the drug. Tim Scully was the scientist who perfected the drug; Sand was the entrepreneur.

Backed by Billy Hitchcock, a rich young man who also helped to fund drug guru Timothy Leary, they set up a lab which would eventually produce millions of tabs of “acid.” Eventually their activities caught the eye of the authorities who raided their lab and put them on trial, both for their connection to the drug trade (it is illegal to manufacture, buy, possess, process, or distribute the drug without a license from the DEA, which virtually no one has) and also for tax evasion. Billy Hitchcock cut a deal with the government and testified against them.

They would be sentenced to 20 years in prison for Scully and 15 years for Sand. Oddly, they were assigned to the same cell in the same prison. While there, Sand’s girlfriend smuggled drugs into the jail for them; Sand dosed the prison’s food and managed to get the entire population high.

Scully got them freed on a legal technicality; while out on bail, Sand fled to Canada, where he lived for almost 20 years. Scully ended up serving 3 years; after Sand was re-captured (but not before making millions more tabs of LSD) he would spend six years in jail.

Scully, naturally, would end up working in Silicon Valley; Sand, who refers to himself as a “madman psychedelic commando,” would move to Ecuador. 

The Daily Beast praised the film, saying  “Mellen’s film is the rare documentary to function as time capsule, philosophical inquiry, and rollicking thriller all at once—as well as a cautionary tale about the crazy lengths people will go to experience a heavenly high.”

The Sunshine Makers will be released theatrically in the fall.

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