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Sony’s ‘Sugar’ Shows Immigrant’s Rise and Fall in Baseball

6 Jul, 2009 By: Chris Tribbey


Before Sony Pictures Home Entertainment announced its plans for the baseball drama Sugar, the writers and directors were crossing their fingers for a Blu-ray Disc release.


“To be able to match the quality of the print, of the film, would be awesome,” said co-writer and co-director Ryan Fleck. “The cinematography is amazing.”


Fleck and co-writer and co-director Anna Boden got their wish, as Sony will release Sugar on both DVD and Blu-ray Sept. 1 (SRPs are $28.96 and $39.95, respectively; prebook July 30). Bonus features include deleted scenes, cast interviews and interviews with professional baseball players from the Dominican Republic.


The film is less about baseball and more about the self-discovery of one young Dominican Republic baseball player as he journeys from near-poverty in his country to the American world of excess. First-time actor Algenis Perez Soto delivers well as pitcher Miguel “Sugar” Santos, who gets his big break at 19 as a minor leaguer for a professional baseball team. But culture shock, isolation and brutal competition may keep Santos from going far in baseball.


“At some point he has to readjust what his idea of the American Dream is,” Boden said. “Is it baseball? Is it getting a regular job?”


Timely when the film was made, and timely today, the film broaches the subject of steroids.


“We want our audience to think about the isolation, the alienation that comes with it,” Fleck said.

Shot in the Dominican Republic, Arizona, Iowa and New York City, Sugar shows a lesser-known side of Major League Baseball. To show that baseball is the first path most Dominican boys aim for to escape poverty, Fleck and Boden spend much of the film in that country, where an estimated 15% of Major Leaguers are born.


“The country is like one of our cast members,” Boden said. “Shooting there was a wonderful experience.”


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