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by Peter Knegt
January 20, 2012 4:13 PM
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Sony Classics Takes Sundance's 'Sugar Man'

"Searching for Sugar Man"

Sony Pictures Classics has acquired Sundance's opening night world doc "Searching For Sugar Man."

The directorial debut of Malik Bendjelloui, the film tells the incredible of Rodriguez, "the greatest '70s rock icon who never was."

"When 1970s Mexican-American singer-songwriter Sixto Rodriguez faded from view, he'd never had much visibility in the first place," Eric Kohn wrote in his Indiewire review. "Typically known only as "Rodriguez," the musician's gentle pop tunes and activist spirit came through in a handful of albums that were barely noticed in the U.S. However, "Searching for Sugar Man," documentarian Malik Bendjelloul's remarkable chronicle of Rodriguez's neglect on his home turf and unexpected stardom in South Africa, compellingly argues for his place in the canon of great American rock stars, whether or not he wants the spot."

Josh Braun and David Koh at Submarine Entertainment brokered the deal with Sony Pictures Classics, with Protagonist Pictures handling International Sales.

Full press release below.


 
NEW YORK, NY (January 20, 2012) – Sony Pictures Classics announced today that they have acquired the rights in North America to Malik Bendjelloul’s directorial debut, SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN.  The film is produced by Simon Chinn of Red Box Films (PROJECT NIM, MAN ON WIRE) and executive produced by John Battsek of Passion Pictures (THE TILLMAN STORY, ONE DAY IN SEPTEMBER) in association with Canfield Pictures and The Documentary Company.  SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN had its world premiere last night as the Opening Night Film of the World Cinema Documentary Competition at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Josh Braun and David Koh at Submarine Entertainment brokered the deal with Sony Pictures Classics, with Protagonist Pictures handling International Sales.
 
This is SPC’s third film with executive producer John Battsek. Previous films include Academy Award® Winner ONE DAY IN SEPTEMBER and MY KID COULD PAINT THAT.
 
SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN tells the incredible story of Rodriguez, the greatest '70s rock icon who never was. Discovered in a Detroit bar in the late '60s by two celebrated producers struck by his soulful melodies and prophetic lyrics, they recorded an album which they believed would secure his reputation as the greatest recording artist of his generation. In fact, the album bombed and the singer disappeared into obscurity amid rumors of a gruesome on-stage suicide. But a bootleg recording found its way into apartheid South Africa and, over the next two decades, he became a phenomenon.  The film follows the story of two South African fans who set out to find out what really happened to their hero. Their investigation leads them to a story more extraordinary than any of the existing myths about the artist known as Rodriguez.
 
“SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN is an incredible story that we can’t wait to share with American audiences.  We are thrilled to be distributing this film by talented new director Malik Bendjelloul and to be working again with our good friend producer John Battsek and Simon Chinn” states Sony Pictures Classics.

Adds Producer Simon Chinn, "We are hugely excited that SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN has been acquired by Sony Pictures Classics. Their passion for this film combined with their stellar track record makes them the perfect distributors for it."
 

2 Comments

  • John | January 21, 2012 10:11 AMReply

    Was ok but not great. Think Sundance massively over inflates the potential of films to break out. Look at "Project Nim" last year that flopped at the box office, making only a quarter of what was paid for it in a Sundance big deal. Distributers seem to go a little crazy for fear of missing out on a big hit. Feels this has niche appeal at art venues.

  • Mary | January 20, 2012 4:40 PMReply

    But you guys just 'wrote the film off' earlier today... mm..