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Festival Year

2008 (click here to see all competition films from this year)


Dramatic Competition


Algenis Perez Soto

Non-Cast Credits

Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck, Paul Mezey, Jamie Patricof, Jeremy Kipp Walker, Andrij Parekh, Anna Boden, Elizabeth Mickle, Lynn Fainchtein, Erin Benach


Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck wowed Sundance Film Festival audiences with their prize-winning short Gowanus, Brooklyn (2004) and their feature Half Nelson (2006). They return with a film far removed from the world of these two, but one that shares the same insights into humanity and an extremely high level of craft.

Sugar follows Miguel Santos, a Dominican baseball player struggling to make it to the big leagues and pull his family out of poverty. He gets his break at age 19, when he advances to the United States's minor league system and travels from his tight-knit community to a small town in Iowa. Miguel struggles with the new language and culture despite the welcoming efforts of his host family. When his play on the mound falters, he begins examining more closely the world around him and his place within it, and ultimately questions the single-mindedness of his life's ambition.

What starts out to be a classic rags-to-riches sports story turns into a much more complex and realistic examination of what it means for young athletes to chase their dreams. Algenis Perez Soto shines in the lead role, delivering a multifaceted performance that is both natural and absorbing. Set against the disparate backdrops of the Dominican Republic, rural Iowa, and New York City, Sugar explores a fascinating side of America's pastime as well as what it embodies to people outside the country.


Trevor Groth (see other films reviewed by the same reviewer)

Film Takes Pace.