Technically speaking, the character Miguel "Sugar" Santos is fictional, but his scripted journey in the new film Sugar was based on the collective experiences of real Dominican ballplayers.
To Major League Baseball teams, the Dominican Republic is a baseball player factory. Growing up athletic in a place beset by poverty can provide opportunities and challenges. Sure, it can be your ticket to success, but the path to the big leagues is littered with prospects who never made it there.
"Sugar" goes through many ups and downs on his quest for success: he attends a baseball academy, deals with a street agent, signs his first contract, travels abroad for the first time, plays in his first training camp, enters the minor leagues...and eventually struggles. These are some of the ups and downs that "Sugar" endures in the film, just as so many Dominican baseball players have in real life.
The film was made by a pair of passionate a talented filmmakers, Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden. Fleck grew up an Oakland A's fan and approached this project with a baseball sensibility, while Boden was more interested in telling the story of this unique immigrant experience. The combination of their two perspectives makes Sugar such a winning film. It's laden with baseball scenes for the sports fan, and backed up by a strong narrative built on human interest....plus the music is fantastic.
Sugar is now is now open in New York and Los Angeles.