US TV Show about a fictional New Orleans-based Zimbabwean Gangster 'Parish' to premier on AMC

Parish a TV Series co-created, executive produced and directed by Zimbabwean-born filmmaker Sunu Gonera will premiere on AMC Networks and AMC+ sometime this year. Sunu Gonera previously directed multiple episodes of FX’s iconic series Snowfall including the Season 3 finale, which the late John Singleton had been originally set to direct, as well as Class of ’09. He also directed the Zimbabwean film Riding with Sugar which premiered on Netflix in 2020.

Sunu Gonera
Sunu Gonera
Getty Images

Parish Series was conceived by the creative minds of Danny Brocklehurst, Sunu Gonera, and showrunner Theo Travers and reimagined a three-part miniseries originally from BBC One. The U.S. series stars Giancarlo Esposito as a taxi driver entangled with a Zimbabwean gangster in New Orleans, notorious for exploiting undocumented immigrants in the southern U.S. ports.

However, in October 2022, a cloud of controversy surrounded Sunu Gonera as he was released from his role in AMC Networks' Parish. This unexpected turn of events was triggered by allegations of sexual assault that emerged against him.

AMC Networks responded to Deadline on the allegations, stating, "We recently became aware of some very serious allegations against an individual working on this production, who was immediately suspended and then terminated after an internal investigation." Regrettably, they offered no further comments on the matter.

The allegations revolved around an incident that transpired in late September at an off-set apartment during non-production hours. Parish, featuring the esteemed Giancarlo Esposito, was being filmed in New Orleans at the time. Sources close to Gonera maintained that the encounter was consensual, with the contentious behaviour involving physical contact. The individual who raised the allegations, not an AMC employee, had shared living quarters with Gonera during production. Remarkably, there were even texts exchanged the following day, inviting him to join her for drinks.

The internal investigation by AMC concluded in less than two weeks, leading to both Gonera's dismissal from the network and the termination of his representation by A3 Artists and Thruline Entertainment.

While the allegations of sexual assault were the catalyst for his departure, sources from the show also mentioned a toxic atmosphere on set that made several actresses uncomfortable. Despite these challenges, Parish's production remained undeterred, moving ahead with filming its finale.

Sunu Gonera grew up in Zimbabwe's townships during the Civil War. In a short time, he created a remarkable career that seemed more like a movie than real life. He got a scholarship to a private school in Zimbabwe and excelled in sports, which opened doors for him to travel internationally. He later earned another scholarship to the University of Cape Town, where he completed a degree in Organizational Psychology. 

Despite successful achievements in sports and a well-paying banking career, Sunu always dreamed of acting and making movies. In 2006, he sold his home in South Africa, moved with his family to Hollywood, and realized his dream by directing 'Pride,' starring Terrence Howard, Bernie Mac, Tom Arnold, and Kimberley Elise. This film earned him and Terrence Howard nominations for a NAACP Image Award. 

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Mungwadzi Godwin

twitterinstagramI like sharing positive stories about Zimbabweans at home and abroad. I also write articles on Personal Finance, Fashion, Music, and Tech. Let's connect!

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