Swedish filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul, who has been tearing a swath through awards season with his film debut, “Searching for Sugar Man,” is scheduled to attend his first-ever Oscar ceremony Sunday as a nominee for documentary feature.
How has awards season been for you? You’ve won Writers Guild, DGA, BAFTA and other awards. How many have you won?
Over 30 awards internationally. In awards season we won Writers Guild, Producers Guild, Directors Guild, the American Cinema Editors and BAFTA, the IDA — International Documentary Assn.’s award — and Critics’ Choice and the National Board of Review.
So did you have to buy a tux for this?
I didn’t. I was given a tux by Brooks Brothers. I was very, very grateful for that.
Round Table Knights re-rub Detroit folk hero Rodriguez’s Hate Street Dialogue (taken from the 1970’s album Cold Fact) into a smooth groove, that’s laced by extra percussive grooves and extra handclaps. A hazy, easy listening track that’ll warm the spirits.
The documentary isn’t only about one man’s humility and passion to do that which he loved and provide a decent living for his family. It’s also a story about dedication and commitment; Sugar worked tirelessly on the Rodriguez website and to connect the singer with South Africa. He and Brian Currin did so much for South African music at the time, setting up the SA Rock Digest that took advantage of the internet in the “early days.” Journalist Craig Bartholomew Strydom, who was doing his own searching too, also added his persistence and tenacity to the story. All essential elements of this feel-good and inspiring story. Topping it off, is the Swedish director himself, who worked for many years on the project, and didn’t even have the funds to finish it so did the music and graphics himself. He just kept going, believing and continuing when he could. For that, this is a story the world deserves to see over and over. With or without an Oscar win.
No film swept this season’s early nonfiction awards from critics groups, but in recent weeks one documentary has picked up momentum from a number of industry groups. Is there still room for an upset in the race for Best Documentary Feature, or will it be a runaway victory?
“Sugar Man” is far out front with 3/2 odds overall. 22 out of 24 experts, eight out of nine editors, and 79% of users predict it will win.
The film, which tells the story of two South Africans searching for their musical hero, Rodriguez, has been awarded by BAFTA, Critics’ Choice, DGA, PGA, and WGA. It also won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival for World Documentaries.
This is the first Oscar nomination for director Malik Bendjelloul. Producer Simon Chinn previously won this category for “Man on Wire” (2008).
Argo, Zero Dark Thirty and Searching for Sugar Man have scooped the top screenplay honours from the Writers Guild of America.
In addition, Searching for Sugar Man saw Malik Bendjelloul win for best documentary screenplay.
The story about the hunt for enigmatic US musician Rodriguez beat competition from The Central Park Five, The Invisible War, Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God, We Are Legion: the Story of the Hacktivists and West of Memphis.
Rodriguez has reached a large audience internationally after the success of the documentary Searching For Sugar Man. Thursday the 8th of August he plays in the park during The Øya Festival. This will be his first visit to Norway and his only concert in Scandinavia this summer.
The documentary Searching For Sugar Man has become a huge international success. The story is about the musician Sixto Rodriguez, who released a couple of very good albums in the 70′s. They sold unfortunately close to nothing in the US and Rodriguez put his career on hold.
Rodriguez’s story is unique. We highly recommend that you see the movie Searching For Sugar Man yourself. Here you will meet the personality, family man and the wonderful songwriter Sixto Rodriguez. Many years after he ended his music career, he found an enthusiastic audience he had no idea that existed. With the movie about this touching story, he has reached a huge audience in many parts of the world. He is now playing bigger and bigger venues in Europe and the USA. It is a pleasure to announce that his only concert in Scandinavia this summer, will be at The Øya Festival.
If you need a musical introduction, you might as well start with the film’s soundtrack. We are looking forward to hearing songs like Sugar Man, Crucify Your Mind, Cause and all the other gems in the park on Thursday 8th of August.