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Oscar-Winning 'Searching For Sugar Man' Director Dead at 36

Photo of Paula Bernstein By Paula Bernstein | Indiewire May 13, 2014 at 6:09PM

Documentary filmmaker and Academy Award winner Malik Bendjelloul, 36, found dead in Stockholm, Sweden.
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"Searching for Sugar Man" director Malik Bendjelloul
Nigel M. Smith "Searching for Sugar Man" director Malik Bendjelloul

The Academy Award-winning filmmaker of "Searching For Sugar Man," Malik Bendjelloul, was found dead today in Stockholm, according to police reports. Bendjelloul, 36, won the Academy for Best Documentary last year for the film, about his search for the musician Sixto Diaz Rodriguez. Bendjelloul directed, produced, edited and co-wrote the film, which initially premiered at Sundance in 2012 where it won the Audience Award. The film, which was the director's first, also won awards for Best Documentary from the DGA, PGA, WGA, BAFTA, NBR and other festivals.

"Searching for Sugar Man"
"Searching for Sugar Man"

In his review of the film at Sundance, Eric Kohn wrote, "The director makes a convincing case for Rodriguez as a phantom rock star, no less valid in its iconoclastic value than Bob Dylan, but never validated by the marketplace."

At the time, Indiewire interviewed the director, who said, "I don’t think 'Sugar Man' is a music doc anymore than 'The Social Network' is about computers. This film just happens to have the best soundtrack ever."


READ MORE: SUNDANCE REVIEW: ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ Tracks the U.S. Rock Legend You’ve Never Heard Of

Bendjelloul recently told The New York Times about how anonymous the musician was before the film first screened at Sundance. "Many people didn’t know when the film started who he was at all. They even thought that he was dead for the first half-hour. So seeing him in the flesh an hour later was powerful. That's what you can do with documentaries."

Police spokeswoman Pia Glenvik said the Swedish filmmaker died in Stockholm late Tuesday, but didn't specify the cause of death except to say there was no crime suspected, according to the Associated Press.


Update: Malik Bendjelloul committed suicide.


READ MORE: The Film Industry Mourns Malik Benjelloul

This article is related to: Malik Bendjelloul, Searching For Sugar Man, Searching for Sugar Man







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