AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
Name Occurs Before Title Offscreen Credit Print Viewed By AFI
Sugar
Director: Anna Boden (Dir)
Release Date:   3 Apr 2009
Premiere Information:   Sundance Film Festival screening: 21 Jan 2008
Production Date:   Jul--Oct 2007
Duration (in mins):   114 or 117-118
Print this page
Display Movie Summary


Cast:   Jose Rijo (Alvarez)  
    Walki Cuevas (Alfonso)  
    Algenis Perez Soto (Miguel)  
    Santo Silvestre (Umpire #1)  
    Emmanuel Nanita Carvajal (Reyes)  
    Cesar Emilio Minaya C. (Pedro)  
    Joendy Pena Brown (Marcos)  
    Kelvin Leonardo Garcia (Salvador)  
    Marcos Rosa (Sanchez)  
    Karl Bury (Rudy)  
    Zaida Alexandra Hernandez (Erica)  
    Lilin Soto Gonzales (Abuela)  
    Dioni Feliciano (Luis)  
    Teodosia Sanchez Reyes (Carmen)  
    Walky Alvarez (Sofia)  
    Letilier A. Foy Jr. (Jaime)  
    Victor Manuel Adon (Javier)  
    Raul Abraham (Floor manager)  
    Manuel Cache (Uncle Angel)  
    Gisselle Jimenez (Cousin Lupe)  
    Omayra Perez Soto (Prima Omayra)  
    Francia Teresa Andujar (Aunt Lola)  
    Michel Junior Sanchez (Cousin Felipe)  
    Herny Severino (Neighbor Ana)  
    Wilson Daniel (Uncle Jeffe)  
    Braulio Castillo (Frank)  
    Conrad Layton (Julie)  
    Carlos Fermin (Antonio)  
    Rayniel Rufino (Jorge)  
    Marla Finn (Waitress)  
    Andre Holland (Brad)  
    Gerardo J. Ramirez (Orlando)  
    Jesus A. Diaz (Ed)  
    Michael Gaston (Stu)  
    Ann Whitney (Helen Higgins)  
    Richard Bull (Earl Higgins)  
    Ellary Porterfield (Anne)  
    Barbara P. Engstrom (Hilary)  
    Larry E. Donaldson (Michael)  
    Isaac Thomas Richer Smith (Clubby)  
    Randolph Wehofer (Jack Jefferies)  
    Scott Behn (Umpire #2)  
    Jonathan Gregoire (Jackass)  
    Brandon Steinbrecher (Jeff)  
    Brandon Robert Gorrell (Randy)  
    Ian R. Wiley (Travis )  
    Holly Hanson (Wendy)  
    Ted Timbrook (Umpire #3)  
    Don Umland (Umpire #4)  
    Chris Harkins (Batter)  
    Alina Vargas (Reyna)  
    J. Eddie Martinez (Rafael)  
    Sandor Telcsy (Nikolai)  
    Karolina Wydra (Raquel)  
    Jaime Tirelli (Osvaldo)  
    Rafael Espinal (Caballo)  
    Jose Luis Romero (José)  
    Hamlet Abreu (Hamlet)  
    Jean Carlos Rodriguez (Jean)  
    Harrison Alvarado (Harrison)  
    Roger Pena (Roger)  
    Ramon Calderon (Umpire #5)  

Summary: In the Dominican Republic at the Kansas City Knight’s Professional Baseball Academy in Boca Chica, several young men train diligently in hopes of being selected by a team in the United States. Nineteen year-old pitcher Miguel Santos, who is nicknamed Sugar because of his fondness for desserts, takes pride in his abilities, but is surprised when a coach demonstrates an unfamiliar spiked curve ball. In addition to training and physical workouts, Miguel and the other athletes receive daily English lessons based on baseball terminology. On his days off, Sugar takes the bus to his home village to visit his mother, grandmother, sister Erica and little brother Luis, who live together in a small house that Sugar is helping to improve with his small academy bonus. After a romantic evening with his girlfriend Sofia, Sugar promises her that one day he will live in America and own a Cadillac in which he will drive her across the sea. The next evening, Sugar visits with several friends and speaks confidently of his progress at the academy, but one former ball player cautions him not to take his success for granted, as he could end up selling cell phones on a street corner like many failed players. Back in Boca Chica, Sugar resumes training. When one of the other players is dropped by the academy, the others give him a farewell party and wonder about their own futures. Before a big game, a nervous Sugar vomits on the field, but then pitches well, only to be pulled when he throws the ball directly at a cocky batter. Reprimanded with the catcher later, Sugar is then surprised to learn that the two have been selected for spring training at the Knight’s camp in Arizona. Back at home, Sugar’s family give him a rousing good-luck party and he is surprised when several strangers insist they are related to him. Sugar and several other academy ballplayers make their first airplane flight and are met in Phoenix by fellow Knight’s player, Jorge Ramirez. After warning the new arrivals about the pricey charges of using the hotel room minibars and television cable, Jorge, a good friend of Sugar’s, takes the group to breakfast and teaches them how to order French toast. At the training facility, Jorge tells Sugar that a player recently got a contract to a Double-A team, then admits that he himself was with a Double-A team before incurring a serious knee injury. On the first day of training, the Knight’s coach tells the players that there are fifty positions across the league for which the seventy-five of them will be vying. Although confident, Sugar is disappointed that in his first performance on the pitching mound, he is only able to get one strike off the camp’s best batter. Calling home later, Sugar boasts to Sofia that he struck out the batter, but she laughs and calls him a liar. Over the next few days, Sugar’s pitching solidifies and he becomes friends with Brad Johnson, a well respected athlete who played college baseball at Stanford University. Weeks later, one of the Dominican Republic players, Antonio, learns that he is to be sent back to Boca Chica, while Sugar finds out that he, Jorge and Brad have been selected to move up to the Knights’ minor league affiliate, The Swing, in Bridgetown, Iowa. That night, Sugar telephones his mother to relate the good news. A few days later, in the unfamiliar lush Iowa farmland, Sugar moves into the home of Earl and Helen Higgins, an elderly couple devoted to the Swing who annually offer lodging to a young aspiring player. At dinner, Sugar meets the Higgins adult children, Michael and Hilary, and Hilary’s teenage daughter Anne, and is uncomfortable with his limited English. A couple of days afterward, Jorge, who is familiar with Bridgetown, introduces Sugar to a shopping mall and promises to take him to Big Muddy’s bar one evening. Soon after, Sugar starts in his first game with the Swing, as Earl and Helen cheer from the stands. When Sugar walks the first batter, Jorge comes to the mound to reassure him that the game is the same as back home. Relaxing, Sugar goes on to strike out the next several batters. At Big Muddy’s a few nights later, Sugar is amazed by the informal, highly sexualized dancing and longs for the salsa. When Sugar and Jorge dance with two American girls, a local man is offended by the foreigners and tries to start a brawl before his friends drag him away. Attending church with the devout Higgins family later, Sugar remains frustrated by his inability to understand much of the sermon. Settling into the season, Sugar grows closer to Brad, who teases him for not being familiar with historical baseball greats, including Puerto Rican legend, Roberto Clemente. Attracted to Anne, Sugar agrees to attend a get-together with her, only to discover that it is a church social. Delighted to be receiving a regular paycheck, Sugar sends most of the money home to his family, whom he telephones weekly. During an away game, Sugar grows unsettled when he overhears Jorge telling his family on the phone that despite his best efforts, he feels that he is not doing well. On the same trip, Sugar seeks out Brad, only to find that, because Brad does not have language limitations, he has already made several acquaintances with the locals. Soon after, Sugar, who remains disoriented and isolated in his surroundings, falls and injures his ankle during a routine play, which forces him to sit out several games. One evening, sitting outside on the porch with Anne, Sugar struggles to explain a childhood scar and, when she encourages him to speak in Spanish, he relaxes, and does but is sad to realize that she has not understood him. Encouraged by Anne’s kindness, Sugar kisses her and, unnerved, she bids him goodnight and departs. At the Swing club house a few days later, Sugar is shocked to find Jorge packing, as he has been pulled from the team. Although he is required to return home, Jorge confides that he is going to stay with a cousin in New York City, as there is no employment back in the Dominican Republic. Despondent, Sugar telephones Sofia, who comforts and encourages him. In the locker room the next day, Sugar asks Brad what he will do after baseball and his friend responds that he will return to university and maybe teach. Sugar reveals that he attended school until he was sixteen when he was recruited for baseball. Bored by his restricted activity and resigned to realize that Anne is avoiding him, Sugar, whose hobby is carpentry, fixes one of the Higgins broken kitchen drawers. When he has recovered from his ankle injury, Sugar arrives at the club house to find Brad’s place empty. The coach informs Sugar that the Wisconsin team signed Brad, who left Sugar a farewell gift of a book on Clemente. Sugar also learns that a former Knights’ academy pitcher, Salvador Torres, has arrived to play with the Swing. Uneasy, Sugar is cool to Sal, who later replaces him in the game when the Swing are losing. Over the next several games, Sal’s pitching abilities surpass those of Sugar. One afternoon in frustration, Sugar smashes a water cooler in the locker room, prompting the coach to advise him to learn to control his anger. Feeling pressured before starting the next game, Sugar takes uppers and strikes out five batters in a row. Sugar’s game deteriorates, however, and after a batter in the fifth inning hits a run, Sugar recklessly aims a pitch at the next batter and is immediately ejected by the umpire. When the batter tries to attack Sugar, both teams pour onto the field for a wild fist fight as the dazed Sugar walks off alone. The coach moves Sugar to relief pitcher and counsels him that an athlete’s character is determined by how well he can make a come-back. At the Higgins’ house, a chastened Sugar apologizes to Earl and Helen and cries when Earl hugs him. Later, Sugar finds out that Jorge’s New York phone number has been disconnected. That evening, Sugar solemnly helps Helen clean up after dinner and thanks her for all of her and Earl’s kindness to him. The next day, instead of taking the team bus to the away game, Sugar hides, then takes a public bus to New York City. Arriving in the city a couple of days later, Sugar goes to Yankee Stadium, near the small Spanish-speaking café at which Jorge works. There, the cook Rafael and waitress Reyna tell Sugar that Jorge left two weeks earlier for a chauffeur job, but stops in occasionally to dine. After taking a small room in a dingy hotel, Sugar looks for work at a carpenter shop nearby, but the manager, Osvaldo, tells him that he is not hiring. Returning to the café, Sugar asks Rafael and Rayna for help and becomes a bus boy. When telephoning home, Sugar learns from his distressed mother that the team management is searching for him, but he assures her that he is fine. Upon returning to Osvaldo’s shop a couple of days later, Sugar offers to do any clean-up work for free if he might use some equipment to make his mother a small table. Although initially resistant, Osvaldo warms to Sugar when he hears a little of his story and allows him to use the shop in his spare time. Depressed that Sofia refuses his calls, and by the squalid atmosphere in the hotel, Sugar contacts a Knights’ representative, Frank, who grudgingly agrees to help extend his visa. When Sugar confides in Osvaldo that he abandoned baseball and has no place to go, the shop owner invites him to stay with him and his daughter until he is settled. In a few days, Sugar joyfully reunites with Jorge at the café and ruefully confesses that he left the team before they threw him out. Over the next few weeks, Sugar continues working at the café and at Osvaldo’s shop. He and Reyna begin dating, going out frequently with Jorge and his girlfriend. During a phone call with his mother, Sugar assures her that he will return soon but is saddened to hear that Erica has had to go to work in a factory. His mother relates that nine year-old Luis is readying himself to be the family’s next baseball star. Through Jorge, Sugar joins a neighborhood baseball team, the Bandidos, who play in Robert Clemente Park. Happy to be on the field again, Sugar contentedly accepts his fortune and looks forward to whatever his new life has in store for him. 

Production Company: HBO Films  
  Journeyman Pictures  
  Hunting Lane Films  
  Gowanus Projections  
Distribution Company: Sony Pictures Classics (Sony Pictures Entertainment)
Director: Anna Boden (Dir)
  Ryan Fleck (Dir)
  Mariela Comitini (1st asst dir)
  Juan Zuniga (2d asst dir)
  Jamie Rush (2d asst dir, New York unit)
  Jamie Rush (2d 2d asst dir)
  Nicole Real (2d 2d asst dir, Dominican Republic unit)
  Nadia Tabbara (2d 2d asst dir, New York unit)
Producer: Paul Mezey (Prod)
  Jamie Patricof (Prod)
  Jeremy Kipp Walker (Prod)
  Anna Boden (Exec prod)
Writer: Anna Boden (Wrt)
  Ryan Fleck (Wrt)
Photography: Andrij Parekh (Cine)
  Smokey Nelson (Addl cine, Dominican Republic unit)
  Toshiro Yamaguchi (Asst cam)
  George Tur (Asst cam)
  Joseph Anderson (Addl asst cam, New York unit)
  Toshiro Yamaguchi (1st asst cam)
  Ludovic Littee (Addl 1st asst cam, New York unit)
  George Tur (2d asst cam)
  Albino Marsetti (B cam op, Iowa unit)
  Dave Wightman (B cam 1st AC, Iowa unit)
  Shannon DeWolfe (B cam 2d AC, Iowa unit)
  Dick Heuer (Genny op, Iowa unit)
  Mike Mervilde Jr. (Best boy elec, Dominican Republic unit)
  Mike Mervilde Jr. (Best boy elec, Iowa unit)
  James McFadyen (Best boy elec, Arizona unit)
  James McFadyen (Best boy elec, New York unit)
  Indiana Francisco (Company elec, Dominican Republic unit)
  Stanys Minaya (Company elec, Dominican Republic unit)
  Rick Lacoste (Company elec, Iowa unit)
  Kent Pope (Company elec, Iowa unit)
  Russell Beard (Company elec, Arizona unit)
  David Knoblock, Sr. (Company elec, Arizona unit)
  Josh Allen (Company elec, New York unit)
  Aaron Randall (Company elec, New York unit)
  Carter Bissell (Addl elec, New York unit)
  David Dutkus (Addl elec, New York unit)
  Jason Sgroi (Addl elec, New York unit)
  Matt Walker (Key grip)
  Adam Lukens (Key grip)
  Eastern Effects (Grip, Post prod)
  Adam Lukens (Best boy grip, Dominican Republic unit)
  Adam Lukens (Best boy grip, Iowa unit)
  Nathan Beaman (Best boy grip, Arizona unit)
  Daniel Adamez (Company grip, Dominican Republic unit)
  Francisco Adamez (Company grip, Dominican Republic unit)
  Rick Roberts (Company grip, Iowa unit)
  Jeff Smith (Company grip, Iowa unit)
  Javier Luevano (Company grip, Arizona unit)
  Lee Lusby (Company grip, Arizona unit)
  Jay Todd (Company grip, Arizona unit)
  Jarrod Wilson (Company grip, Arizona unit)
  Justin Bennet (Company grip, New York unit)
  Samantha Sa (Company grip, New York unit)
  Ron Cook (Addl grip, Iowa unit)
  Rick Pilcher (Addl grip, Iowa unit)
  Jacklyn Chi (Addl grip, New York unit)
  Erik Degroot (Addl grip, New York unit)
  Dylan Crawshy-Williams (Addl grip, New York unit)
  Smokey Nelson (Gaffer)
  Mike Mervilde Jr. (Gaffer)
  Robert Harlow (Best boy grip, New York unit)
  Katie Dainson (Cam loader)
  Ariel Mota (Cam loader, Dominican Republic unit)
  Ian McAlpin (Cam loader, New York unit)
  Tim Hawn (Addl cam loader, Iowa unit)
  Andy Kromphardt (Cam PA)
  Otoniel Araufo (Cam PA, Dominican Republic unit)
  Fernando Calzada (Still photog)
  Denton Hanna (Still photog, Arizona unit)
  Gabrielle Russomagno (Addl still photog, Dominican Republic unit)
  Gabrielle Russomagno (Addl still photog, Iowa unit)
  Eastern Effects (Grips & lighting)
  Camera Service Center NY (Camera & lenses)
Art Direction: Elizabeth Mickle (Prod des)
  Michael Ahern (Art dir)
  Rachel Jones (Art dept coord)
  Lyani Powers (Art dept coord, Dominican Republic unit)
  Daniel R. Kersting (Art prod asst, Iowa unit)
  Dan-Ah Kim (Art prod asst, New York unit)
  Audra Beals (Art intern, Iowa unit)
  Tyler Drayton (Art intern, Iowa unit)
  Travis Black (Art intern, Arizona unit)
  Kimyana Lee (Art intern, Arizona unit)
Film Editor: Anna Boden (Ed, Post prod)
  Andrew Blackwell (Assoc ed, Post prod)
  Final Frame Post (Ed facilities, Post prod)
Set Decoration: Richard Bailey (Set dec)
  Rachel Jones (Asst set dec, Dominican Republic unit)
  Jeremy Balon (Prop master)
  Matthew Amenta (Asst prop master)
  Elvis Marinez (Asst props, Dominican Republic unit)
  Juan Oleaga (Asst props, Dominican Republic unit)
  Gina Freedman (On-set dresser)
  Ricky Folch (On-set dresser, Dominican Republic unit)
  Darryl Parson (On-set dresser, Arizona unit)
  Francisco Javier Taveras (Leadman, Dominican Republic unit)
  Corbin Booth (Leadman, Iowa unit)
  Jared Bumgarner (Leadman, New York unit)
  Bladimir Abud (Key set prod asst, Dominican Republic unit)
  Hans Swanson (Key set prod asst, Iowa unit)
  Paul J. Yang (Key set prod asst, Arizona unit)
  Vince Brown (Key set prod asst, New York unit)
  Yinna De La Cruz (Set prod asst, Dominican Republic unit)
  Jose Gomez (Set prod asst, Dominican Republic unit)
  Juan Namnun (Set prod asst, Dominican Republic unit)
  Stephanie Tashiro (Set prod asst, Iowa unit)
  Brett Reinier (Set prod asst, Iowa unit)
  Austin Lapierre (Set prod asst, Arizona unit)
  Natalie Campos (Set prod asst, New York unit)
  Patrick Eaton (Set prod asst, New York unit)
  Sandi Greenberg (Set prod asst, New York unit)
  Jonathan Kussmaul (Set prod asst, New York unit)
  Robert Plonskier (Set prod asst, New York unit)
  Browntrout Publishers (Props provided by)
  Gatorade (Props provided by)
  Haymarket Books (Props provided by)
  ISS Props (Props provided by)
Costumes: Erin Benach (Cost des)
  Stephani Lewis (Asst cost des)
  Emma Potter (Ward supv)
  Elisa Santiago (Ward supv, Dominican Republic unit)
  Rossana Batista (Ward asst, Dominican Republic unit)
  Caroline Flach (On-set cost)
  Karla Strum (On-set cost, Iowa unit)
  Jessica Anastasi (On-set cost, Arizona unit)
  Elisa Santiago (On-set cost, New York unit)
  Bailey (Clothing provided by)
  Bolle (Clothing provided by)
  Colleen Lee (Clothing provided by)
  Fila (Clothing provided by)
  New Balance (Clothing provided by)
  Puma (Clothing provided by)
  Oakley (Clothing provided by)
  Saucony (Clothing provided by)
  Skechers (Clothing provided by)
  Under Armour (Clothing provided by)
Music: Lynn Fainchtein (Mus supv)
  Annette Kudrak (Mus ed, Post prod)
  Nicholas J. Schenck (Asst mus ed, Post prod)
  Michael Brook (Mus)
  Evyen J. Klean (Mus consultant, Post prod)
  Jennifer Reeve (Mus coord, Post prod)
Sound: Abigail Savage (Sd des, Post prod)
  Judy Karp (Sd mixer)
  Jaime Reyes (Boom op)
  Bryan Dembinski (Addl sd, New York unit)
  Tom Efinger (Sd supv/Re-rec mixer, Post prod)
  Tom Efinger (ADR recordist, Post prod)
  Eric Gitelson (ADR recordist, Post prod)
  Dave Ellinwood (Dial ed, Post prod)
  John Moros (Foley & addl dial ed, Post prod)
  Leslie Bloome (Foley artist, Post prod)
  Dig It Audio, Inc. (Audio post facility, Post prod)
  Tom Kodros (Dolby Sound consultant, Post prod)
  James Nichols (Dolby Sound consultant, Post prod)
Make Up: Leo Won (Key make-up)
  Johnny Mooi (Addl make-up, Iowa unit)
  Chrissy Kernes (Addl make-up)
  David Kalahiki (Addl make-up, New York unit)
  David Presto (Addl make-up, New York unit)
  Lisa Dellechiaie (Key hair stylist)
  Johnny Mooi (Addl hair & make-up, Iowa unit)
  Chrissy Kernes (Addl hair & make-up, Arizona unit)
  Redken (Hair and make-up products provided by)
  MAC (Hair & make-up products provided by)
Production Misc: Cindy Tolan (Casting)
  Amelia Rasche (Casting assoc)
  Tom Walljasper (Casting asst, Iowa unit)
  Gisselle Jimenez (Extras casting, Dominican Republic unit)
  Denny Hitchcook (Addl casting/Extras casting, Iowa unit)
  Patrice Farner (Extras casting, Arizona unit)
  Sean Powers (Extras casting, New York unit)
  Rita Powers (Extras casting, New York unit)
  Darlene Wyatt (Addl casting, Arizona unit)
  Dave Saltzman (Prod supv)
  Sarah Connors (Post prod supv)
  George R. Benedict (Prod supv, Iowa unit)
  Ronny Merdinger (Unit prod mgr)
  Tracey Cuesta (Supv prod, Dominican Republic unit)
  John Douglas Miller (Field prod, Iowa unit)
  Denton Hanna (Field prod, Arizona unit)
  Francisco Disla (Asst unit prod mgr, Dominican Republic unit)
  Julie Platner (Prod coord)
  Andrew Goldman (Post prod coord)
  Anna Bogdanova (Post prod coord, Dominican Republic unit)
  Christine Pilcher (Asst prod coord, Iowa unit)
  Timothy P. Haskins (Asst prod coord, Arizona unit)
  Andrew Goldman (Asst prod coord, New York unit)
  Emily Pendas (Scr supv)
  Amina El Etreby (Addl script supv, Iowa unit)
  Jochy Benipez (Transportation coord)
  Jose Alberto (Driver, Dominican Republic unit)
  Jose Alvarez (Driver, Dominican Republic unit)
  Rafelo Belen (Driver, Dominican Republic unit)
  Leo Dama (Driver, Dominican Republic unit)
  Willie Florentino (Driver, Dominican Republic unit)
  Gill Pena Manuel (Driver, Dominican Republic unit)
  Domingo Monjica (Driver, Dominican Republic unit)
  Kelvin Navarro (Driver, Dominican Republic unit)
  Jose Perez (Driver, Dominican Republic unit)
  Leandry Puello (Driver, Dominican Republic unit)
  Mariano Rosario (Driver, Dominican Republic unit)
  Hector Santana (Driver, Dominican Republic unit)
  Guillermo Silverio (Driver, Dominican Republic unit)
  Marcos Ubiera (Driver, Dominican Republic unit)
  Frank Anderson (Driver, Iowa unit)
  Ron Cook (Driver, Iowa unit)
  Dave Rennie (Driver, Iowa unit)
  Vince Brown (Prod asst)
  Jalsen Santana (Office prod asst, Dominican Republic unit)
  Nik Shnekenberg (Office prod asst, Dominican Republic unit)
  Elizabeth Stadie (Office prod asst, Iowa unit)
  Mike Tank (Office prod asst, Arizona unit)
  Susanna Locascio (Office prod asst, New York unit)
  Devin Kirby Hanson (Addl prod asst, Iowa unit)
  Briana Pilcher (Addl prod asst, Iowa unit)
  David Whitherspoon (Addl prod asst, Iowa unit)
  Christopher F. Kubek (Addl prod asst, Arizona unit)
  Neal Welty (Addl prod asst, Arizona unit)
  Chris Wise (Addl prod asst, Arizona unit)
  Leonardo Cuesta (Loc mgr, Dominican Republic unit)
  Pat Coll (Loc mgr, Iowa unit)
  John Henry (Loc mgr, New York unit)
  Rolando Sanchez (Asst loc mgr, Dominican Republic unit)
  William Toubman (Asst loc mgr, New York unit)
  Tyler Cook (Loc asst)
  Ramon Feliciano Martinez (Loc asst, Dominican Republic unit)
  Melvin Nadal (Loc asst, Dominican Republic unit)
  Melinda Burns (Loc asst, Iowa unit)
  Kenneth Yanga (Loc asst, Arizona unit)
  James McGuinness (Loc asst, New York unit)
  Hotel Barcelo Capella (Catering, Dominican Republic unit)
  Moon River Supper Club (Catering, Iowa unit)
  Catering Exellence (Catering, Arizona unit)
  The Directors' Catering (Catering, New York unit)
  Letilier A. Foy Jr. (Craft service, Dominican Republic unit)
  Janelle Smith (Craft service, Iowa unit)
  Dominic V. Sbardella (Craft service, Arizona unit)
  Edgar Javier Rojas (Craft service, New York unit)
  Susan Krejci (Asst craft service, Iowa unit)
  Ana Andrea Garcia (On-set medic, Dominican Republic unit)
  David Giere (On-set medic, Arizona unit)
  Albert Krause (Key prod accountant)
  Shawn Hamilton (Prod accountant)
  Jackie Giroux (Prod accountant, Dominican Republic unit)
  Spring Sutter (Post prod accountant)
  Laurie Inghram (Accounting clerk)
  Axium International, Inc. (Payroll services)
  AON/Albert G. Ruben (Insurance services, Post prod)
  Jose Rijo (Baseball consultant, Dominican Republic unit)
  John Marx (Baseball consultant, Iowa unit)
  Mike Orchard (Baseball consultant, Arizona unit)
  Hector Eduardo (Pitching coach, Dominican Republic unit)
  Denisse Aponte-Donnelly (Spanish translation services, Post prod)
  Serie 23 Productions (Prod services, Dominican Republic unit)
  Andrea F. Cannistraci (Prod legal services)
  Cowan, Debaets, Abrahams & Sheppard LLP (Prod legal services)
  Protima Daryanani (Immigration legal services)
  Suskind Susser Bland (Immigration legal services)
  Maki Stapleton (Prod office intern, New York unit)
  Taylor Tepper (Prod office intern, New York unit)
Stand In: Dennis Saldana (Stunt coord, Iowa unit)
Color Personnel: Technicolor NY (Dallie/DI)
  Joey Violante (Dallies adv)
  Crystal Pei (Dalies colorist)
  Kristyn DiPane (Project mgr)
  Barbara Jean Kearney (Exec DI prod)
  Dana Bloder (DI prod)
  Tim Stipan (DI colorist)
  Jesse Morrow (Fire artist)
  Jessica Allen (2K conform)
  Joseph Ryals (Imaging and film rec)
  Jacob Robinson (Imaging and film rec)
  Kevin Vale (Imaging and film rec)
  Don Ciana (Lab timer)
  Stan Sztaba (Negative matching)
  Patricia Sztaba (Negative matching)
MPAA Rating: R
Country: United States
Language: Spanish

Music:
Songs: "Los Que Me Esperaban, Llegue," written by Tony Sugar, performed by Yoan Soriano, courtesy of Mambo Media, LLC; "El Comparon," written and performed by Zacarias Ferreira, courtesy of Disco Mania/Sunflower Entertainment Co., Inc.; "Obsesion," written by Anthony "Romeo" Santos, performed by Aventura, courtesy of Premium Latin Music, Inc.; "Se Partio El Lapiz," written by Manuel Varet, performed by Vakero featuring Arcangel, courtesy of Jeremy Records/Sunflower Entertainment Co., Inc.; "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," written by Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer; “Azucar Negra,” written by Mario Diaz, performed by Celia Cruz, courtesy of Universal Music Latino under license from Universal Music Enterprises; “Colegiala,” written by Antonio Rivera, performed by Los Sabrosos del Merengue, courtesy of J & N Records, LLC; “Caramelo,” written by Rafa Rosario, performed by Los Hermanos Rosario, courtesy of Karen Publishing Co.; “Tu Seras Mi Vida,” written and performed by Zacarias Ferreira, courtesy of Mayimba Music, Inc. o/b/o Campesino Entertainment Group; “La Vivora,” written by Octavio Ventura Ramos, performed by Los Soñadores de la Frontera, courtesy of Straight Songs, S.A. DE C.V.; “Returns and Exchanges,” written and performed by B. Schleifer, courtesy of Fervor Records, a division of Wild Whirled Music; “Swing Street,” written by David Hilker and John Costello, performed by John Costello Band, courtesy of Wild Whirled Music; “Never Look Back,” Georg Dolivo, Robert Downes, Brian Forsythe and Jackie Enx, performed by Rhino Bucket, courtesy of pigFACTORY USA; “The Star-Spangled Banner,” music by Stafford Smith, lyrics by Francis Scott Key; “A Good Day to Die,” written and performed by Josh Crocker, courtesy of pigFACTORY USA; “Me and U,” written by Ryan Leslie, performed by Cassie, courtesy of Bad Boy Records, LLC, by arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing; “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,” written by A.J. Showalter; “Blues From Down Here,” written by Babatunde Adebimpe, David Andrew Sitek, Kyp Malone, Jaleel Bunton and Gerard Smith, performed by TV on the Radio, courtesy of Interscope Records under license from Universal Music Enterprises; “What Kind of Friend,” written and performed by Zach & Sarah Blickens, produced by Aaron Sternke; “Tryptophaned,” written and performed by Michael Brook, courtesy of Canadian Rational LLC; “Lookin’ 4 Love,” written by David Hilker and John Costello, performed by Da Groove, courtesy of Fervor Records, a division of Wild Whirled Music; “Tempusfucksit,” written by Michael Brook, courtesy of Canadian Rational LLC; “Kulikitaka,” written and performed by Maximo A. del Rosario-Almonte; “Rock It In,” written by James Carelan, performed by Jim Carelan, courtesy of pigFACTORY USA; “Lustwafen,” written and performed by Michael Brook, courtesy of Canadian Rational LLC; “Acher,” written and performed by Michael Brook, courtesy of Canadian Rational LLC; “Ciego de Amor,” written by Anthony “Romeo” Santos, performed by Aventura featuring Anthony Santos, courtesy of Premium Latin Music, Inc.; “Best Unsaid,” written and performed by Michael Brook, courtesy of Canadian Rational LLC; “One Leg,” written and performed by Michael Brook, courtesy of Canadian Rational LLC; "Que Bonita Luna," written by Antonio Cabán Vale, performed by Juan Luis Guerra, Rubén Blades and Robi "Dräco" Rosa, courtesy of Banco Popular;“Lo Que Mas Me Gusta de Ti,” written by Fernando A. Cruz and Rafael David Peguero a.k.a. Carlos David, performed by Carlos David; “Lo Que Le Gusta a Las Mujeres,” written and performed by Frank Reyes, courtesy of J & N Records, LLC/JVN Music, Inc., “Hallelujah,” written by Leonard Cohen, performed by GEPE; “In This World,” written and performed by Moby, courtesy of ½ Records/Mute Ltd., by arrangement with Sheridan Square Entertainment.
Composer: Albert von Tilzer
  Babatunde Adebimpe
  Michael Brook
  Jaleel Bunton
  James Carelan
  Leonard Cohen
  John Costello
  Josh Crocker
  Fernando A. Cruz
  Maximo A. del Rosario-Almonte
  Mario Diaz
  Georg Dolivo
  Robert Downes
  Jackie Enx
  Zacarias Ferreira
  Brian Forsythe
  David Hilker
  Ryan Leslie
  Kyp Malone
  Moby
  Jack Norworth
  Rafael David Peguero
  Octavio Ventura Ramos
  Frank Reyes
  Antonio Rivera
  Rafa Rosario
  Anthony "Romeo" Santos
  B. Schleifer
  A.J. Showalter
  David Andrew Sitek
  Gerard Smith
  Stafford Smith
  Tony Sugar
  Antonio Cabán Vale
  Manuel Varet
Source Text:

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Home Box Office, Inc. 0/0/2008 dd/mm/yyyy  

PCA NO: 44335
Physical Properties: Sd: Dolby Digital in selected theatres
  col:

 
Genre: Drama
Sub-Genre: Baseball
 
Subjects (Major): Ambition
  Athletes
  Baseball
  Dominican Republic
  Family relationships
  Friendship
  Language and languages
 
Subjects (Minor): Arizona
  Athletic coaches
  Bars
  Buses
  Carpenters
  Churches
  Diners (Restaurants)
  Drugs
  Fistfights
  Hotels
  Iowa
  New York City
  Parties
  Poverty
  Restaurants
  Sex
  Waitresses
  Wounds and injuries

Note: Onscreen acknowledgments in the closing credits thank several minor and major league baseball teams including the Arizona Diamondbacks, The Swing of the Quad Cities and the Burlington Bees. A long list of individuals is also thanked in the closing onscreen credits. Spanish is the primary language spoken in Sugar , with English subtitles, but portions of the film are in English. According to a 5 Dec 2007 HR news item, HBO Films picked up financing of writer-directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s production of Sugar , but reserved the option of distributing it via its cable television branch after its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. After the film received the festival’s nomination for the Grand Jury Prize, HBO decide to distribute the film to theatres.
       The Dominican baseball players in the film were all played by non-actors, including star Algenis Pérez Soto as “Miguel ‘Sugar’ Santos.” In production notes for the film, Boden and Fleck describe auditioning more than six hundred actors at casting sessions in both the U. S. and the Dominican Republic. As a teenager, Pérez Soto harbored hopes of being selected by a baseball academy in the Dominican Republic as a shortstop or second baseman. After being cast in the film, Pérez Santos worked with a major league pitching coach for two months. In addition, Pérez Soto also worked with Dominican baseball pitching legend José Rijo, a preeminent pitcher in Major League Baseball during the 1980s and 1990s, as well as a three-time All Star and Most Valuable Player in the World Series of 1990. Rijo also played the role of “Alvarez,” the Director of the Kansas City Knights academy. Manny Nanita, a former minor league player for the Minnesota Twins, played the role of “Reyes,” the academy’s head coach. The fictional Kansas City Knights academy was filmed at the Dominican Republic facilities of the Arizona Diamondback’s academy.
       Sugar accurately depicts the “farm system” used by American Major League Baseball teams. As noted in a 29 Mar 2009 NYT article and production notes on the film, every major league team, save the Milwaukee Brewers, runs an academy in the Dominican Republic. The tiny country has supplied the American major leagues with many of its top players, including Juan Marichal, the Alou brothers, Manny Mota and current stars such as Sammy Sosa, David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez. According to the NYT article, baseball represents “the quickest, most glamorous route out of poverty,” which pervades the Dominican Republic. As shown in the film, potential players as young as sixteen are recruited into an academy and, if successful, are moved along to affiliate training camps in the U. S., then up the ladder to Single-A, Double-A and Triple-A minor league teams. The NYT article points out that some “unsavory” talent brokers will sign players as young as ten years old. Sugar depicts only a few players reaching Double-A minor leagues successfully. The film also avoided some of the scandal that has recently arisen in the Dominican Republic baseball system. The NYT article described a 2008 federal investigation into “whether scouts and executives took kickbacks from signing bonuses promised to Dominican players.” Rijo, a special assistant to the general manager of the Washington Nationals, was fired from his job amidst the ongoing investigation. A brief scene in Sugar lightly suggesting potential problems in the academy system depicts a player discussing his new contract with a Double-A team mentioning that his agent will take forty percent of his pay. As noted in production notes, the “Higgins” family was a composite of real families interviewed by the filmmakers during the film’s development. Fleck stated that “They’re baseball fans…(who) have an extra room in their house and like to take care of the players, but their number-one priority is seeing the team win.” As indicated in production notes, Sugar was shot on location in the Dominican Republic, Arizona, Iowa and New York City.
       Sugar was selected by AFI as one of the ten Movies of the Year for 2009. In addition to the film’s nomination for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, it received a nomination for Best Screenplay from the 2009 Independent Spirit Awards.  

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Hollywood Reporter   5 Dec 2007   p. 4, 49.
Hollywood Reporter   28 Jan 2008.   
Los Angeles Times   3 Apr 2009.   
New York Times   29 Mar 2009   p. 11, 12.
New York Times   3 Apr 2009   p. 1, 6.
Variety   28 Jan--3 Feb 2008.   

Display Movie Summary
The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
Advanced Search
Support our efforts to preserve hisotory of film
Help AFI Preserve Film History

© 2017 American Film Institute.
All rights reserved.
Terms of use.