Gonera in pulpit for 'Church' pic


Sunu Gonera is in final negotiations to partner with Lionsgate again.

The South African director, who recently completed helming his first feature, "Pride," for the studio, will team with gospel singer Kirk Franklin to direct "Church Boy."

Based on Franklin's life story, "Church" is being produced by "Pride" producer Paul Hall along with Bobby Smith Jr. and casting director Robi Reed.

Gonera, a commercials director, got his debut feature opportunity after his first short film, "Riding With Sugar," screened at the 2005 Festival de Cannes.

Gonera, who hails from a township in Zimbabwe, spent years in front of the camera, acting in commercials ranging from KFC to Sony to the U.S.' Olympics campaign. He then spent four years as a private banker before deciding to try filmmaking.

In July 2003, Gonera formed his own company, Faith Creations, with Diana Keam and has directed a few commercials since then. He's working on turning "Riding With Sugar," which he also wrote, into a feature film.

Gonera is repped by ICM is managed by Paul Nelson at Mosaic. Michael Schenkman is his attorney.