Call it Sony Pictures Classics’ wet dream.
While “Searching for Sugar Man” is still in release in smart-houses around the country, CBS’s “60 Minutes” has cottoned to the amazing story of artist and musician Sixto Diaz Rodriguez, the star of director Malik Bendjelloul’s documentary. Their profile will air this Sunday, October 7 at 7 PM EST/PST.
The doc opened the 2012 Sundance Festival, where it won the doc World Cinema Audience Award as well as a World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Prize for its Celebration of the Artistic Spirit. SPC released the film on July 27 and it has continued expanding to theaters nationwide.
“Searching for Sugar Man” tells the story of a politically uncompromising musician who took American protest music to new levels in the early 1970s with his two albums, “Cold Fact” and “Coming From Reality.” After the albums failed to sell, he vanished from public view. When a bootleg copy of “Cold Fact” ended up in South Africa, it spoke to their narratives of chaos, power, corruption, and revolution and became anthems of the anti-apartheid movement. While the South African government threatened to ban his music, Rodriguez reached cult status. This documentary brings Rodriguez to the fans he didn’t know he had, as well as introducing a new generation to his music. Alt radio stations such as LA’s KCRW-FM are now playing his songs; NPR’s World Cafe will air a “Searching for Sugar Man” special on October 18.
The documentary has spawned a renaissance for the 70-year-old Rodriguez, including a 22-date American headline tour. We saw him play at SXSW in April, and he’s improved his chops since then at the Newport Folk Festival this summer, a Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival in Columbus, Missouri, and on the “Late Show” with David Letterman. He has also accrued a number of big name fans including Michael Moore, Roger Ebert, Jonah HIll, Susan Sarandon, Zach Galifianakis, Pharrell Williams, Ron Howard, and Lance Armstrong, who have all publicly supported the documentary and the music behind it.