John Boyega, will star alongside Clare Bowen and Jason Isaacs in Zimbambwean filmmaker Sunu Gonera’s Riding with Sugar.
Gonera’s last feature film was the 2007 drama, Pride, which starred Terrence Howard, Kimberly Elise, Bernie Mac and others, his feature film directorial debut.
Gonera was born in Zimbabwe, where he attended a private school, thanks to a scholarship as well as his athletic abilities, which opened doors for him, including another scholarship to the University of Cape Town, where he got a degree in Psychology. He went on to have a successful career in banking, and eventually decided to take on his dreams of acting and making movies, working his way up pretty quickly apparently, starting out making commercials, winning awards for his work for clients as Nike, VW, Coca Cola and U.S Tennis Association to mention a few.
He eventually made a short film titled Riding with Sugar in 2005, and it screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006. It was in that same year that he beat out more seasoned Hollywood directors and landed his first full length feature directing assignment with Lionsgate – the film we know as Pride.
Soon after that, Sunu sold his home in South Africa, and moved his wife and kids to Hollywood. Unfortunately, that move didn’t prove successful for him and he went back to South Africa, where a filmmaking industry continues to blossom, prosper and fare well on the international cinema stage.
Sunu is now getting behind the camera again, for his second feature film, which is based on the short film that helped launch his Hollywood career, Riding with Sugar.
Riding With Sugar was actually originally a feature film project, but he made a short version of it in 2005, likely hoping that, with the short version, he’d be able to raise funds for the feature. It looks like, 7+ years later, he’s finally good to go, with filming set to begin this week, with Boyega starring, in Cape Town, South Africa, produced by Shekinah Tribe and Spier Films.
The film follows Terrence, a South African youth who dreams of escaping the world of drug dealing in which he exists, to become a BMX champion rider. He stumbles into a precarious and unlikely relationship with Olivia, a lovely girl who appreciates both his dream and drive.
Luckily, I was able to track down the short film version of Riding With Sugar, which is embedded below, so check it out for a glimpse at what to expect.