France TV Distribution has boarded “Sugar and Stars” (“À la belle étoile”), an inspirational drama based on the true story of an underdog who became a famed pastry chef.
The film marks the feature debut of Sébastien Tulard, who has directed several shorts and worked as assistant director on hit French comedies such as Tarek Boudali’s “30 jours max,” Frank Gastambide’s popular show “All The Way Up,” Dany Boon’s “Supercondriaque” and Philippe Lacheau’s “Babysitting.”
Penned by Cédric Ido, “Sugar and Stars” is based on Yazid Ichemrahem’s autobiographical book “Un rêve d’enfant étoilé.” The story revolves around Yazid, who spends his childhood moving from one foster home to another while dreaming of becoming a pastry chef. Nothing predestines him for such a career, but Yazid’s fierce determination and resourcefulness allow him to thrive in the elitist arena of patisserie. Working for the world’s top chefs from Paris to Monaco, Yazid sets off to win the international pastry championship.
Up-and-comer Riadh Belaïche, an Algeria-born French influencer known as Just Riadh, who has 5.5 million followers on TikTok, stars in the film alongside Loubna Abidar and Pascal Legitimus.
“Sugar and Stars” is produced by Laurence Lascary’s banner De l’Autre Côté du Périph, whose credits include “The Climb” with Ahmed Sylla. Jamel Debbouze, one of France’s best known comedians, is co-producing. Bac Films will release the movie in France.
“Yazid’s story is not about destiny — it’s a message of hope. He persevered despite the many obstacles he faced. I love portraying that on the big screen,” said Lascary, adding that that film will likely leave audiences “feeling light-hearted and motivated.”
Julia Schulte, head of international sales at France TV Distribution, said the film will resonate because “it’s a true story with an uplifting message that can speak to young adults and well beyond.” The first portion of the film portrays Yazid as a teenager, while the second part sees him in his mid-20’s competing in the championship.
Renan Artukmaç, the deputy senior VP of international sales at France TV Distribution, said “Sugar and Stars” is a “universal tale because it shows someone coming from a broken home who manages to escape poverty and move up the social ladder.” At the same time, Artukmaç added that “it’s not a classic cinderella story like American filmmakers tend to do. It’s very realistic as we see Yazid struggling between those two worlds for a while before making it.”
France TV Distribution will kick off the film’s sale at the European Film Market.