Press release for PT Music
In 2006 Swedish film producer Malik Bendjelloul visited Cape Town, South Africa as part of a world-spanning journey searching for inspiration for a new film. What he found was a story that was so unbelievable that if a scriptwriter had written it as a piece of fiction, it would have been rejected as being too far-fetched.
‘Searching For Sugar Man’ took three years to complete and was filmed in Cape Town and Detroit, and other South African and US locations. The film had its international premiere on Thursday 19th January 2012, at the Sundance Film Festival held in Park City, Utah, USA as a representative of the World Documentary section.
Synopsis from Sundance Filmguide:
“Rodriguez was the greatest ’70s U.S. rock icon who never was. His albums [Cold Fact and Coming From Reality] were critically well-received, but sales bombed, and he faded away into obscurity among rumors of a gruesome death. However, as fate would have it, a bootleg copy of his record made its way to South Africa, where his music became a phenomenal success. In a country suppressed by apartheid, his anti-establishment message connected with the people.
When his second album finally gets released on CD in South Africa, two fans take it as a sign, deciding to look into the mystery of how Rodriguez died and what happened to all of the profits from his album sales. Since very little information about the singer exists, they meet many obstacles until they uncover a shocking revelation that sets off a wild chain of events that has to be seen to be believed. ‘Searching For Sugar Man’ is a story of hope, inspiration, and the resonating power of music”.
After the initial screening, Chris Lee from the Daily Beast wrote: “Following the rise, seeming demise, and re-emergence of an obscure but influential Mexican-American folk singer named Rodriguez, the movie premiered Thursday to tears, cheers, and a standing ovation from festival attendees”.
‘Searching For Sugar Man’ garnered two awards, The ‘World Cinema Audience Award: Documentary’ and ‘World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Prize for its Celebration of the Artistic Spirit’. To receive both an audience award and a critics award is a very rare occurrence indeed and had only happened once before since Sundance was founded in 1981 by Robert Redford. It was also one the first films sold at the Festival, being snapped up by Sony Pictures Classics.
Rodriguez (who turns 70 this year in July) attended the festival and appeared with Malik Bendjelloul and Sugarman.org’s Stephen “Sugar” Segerman, after every screening. He also performed at the packed-out Sundance ASCAP Music Café. (see video below)
The Sundance Film Festival success of ‘Searching For Sugarman’ is another milestone in the strange and wonderful story of the man known, to his ever increasing fan base around the world, simply as Rodriguez.
Sundance Press Release
Sundance ASCAP Music Café