Searching for Sugar Man director Malik Bendjelloul dies aged 36

Written on May 14, 2014 by Administrador de IE Blogs in Film

malik-bendjelloul_foto_linus-hallseniusMalik Bendjelloul, the Swedish film director who made the Oscar-winning music documentary Searching for Sugar Man, has died at the age of 36.

Police spokeswoman Pia Glenvik told the Associated Press that Bendjelloul died in Stockholm late on Tuesday. The police did not specify the cause of death and said no crime was suspected.

Searching for Sugar Man, which detailed the life and career of the American singer Sixto Rodriguez, won the Oscar for best documentary in 2013.

Bendjelloul grew up in central and southern Sweden and acted in the Swedish TV series Ebba and Didrik as a child during the 1990s. He studied journalism and media production at the Linnaeus University of Kalmar in southern Sweden and later worked as a reporter for the Swedish public broadcaster SVT.

He resigned from that job to travel the world and got the idea for Searching for Sugar Man during one of his trips.

The film followed two South African journalists who set out to find what had become of Rodriguez. The film, structured like a mystery, sought to find Rodriguez who never achieved fame in his home country but had become a popular and influential folk icon in South Africa, completely unbeknownst to himself.

“We are so sad to hear of Malik Bendjelloul’s passing,” Sony Pictures Classics, the distributor of Searching for Sugar Man, said in a statement.

“Much like Rodriguez himself Malik was a genuine person who chased the world for stories to tell.

“He didn’t chase fame, fortune or awards, although those accolades still found him as many others recognised his storytelling.”

Searching for Sugar Man swept major awards from the US directors’, producers’ and writers’ guilds, and also won audience and special jury awards at the Sundance film festival.

Bendjelloul was born in the town of Ystad in southern Sweden, about 34 miles east of Malmo, according to film database IMDB.com.

He had also directed television documentaries about singers Elton John, Rod Stewart, Bjork and the German electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk, according to the Swedish Film Institute.

“Oh boy!” Bendjelloul exclaimed when he accepted his Oscar from Ben Affleck in 2013, proceeding to thank “one of the best singers ever, Rodriguez”.

The film won other prizes including a British Bafta for best documentary and the Swedish Guldbagge award.

Continue reading in The Guardian


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