“Searching for Sugar Man” to open Sheffield Doc/Fest

Director Malik Bendjelloul's doc about a mysterious Mexican-American singer whose music became the soundtrack for South Africa's anti-apartheid movement will open this year's festival.
April 4, 2012

Director Malik Bendjelloul’s Searching For Sugar Man will open the 2012 Sheffield Doc/Fest.

The film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, traces the life of enigmatic Mexican-American singer-songwriter Rodriguez, who released one album in 1970 to widespread acclaim and then disappeared. Years later, he experienced a renaissance when the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa latched on to his music.

This film was of particular interest to Sheffield’s programmers because the project was initially pitched at the festival’s MeetMarket in 2008.

Searching for Sugar Man beautifully brings together themes of music, resistance and revolution –¬†subjects we love at Doc/Fest,” film programmer Hussain Currimbhoy said in a statement. “As a MeetMarket success story and made by a young filmmaker, we could not be prouder to set the tone for Doc/Fest with Malik’s inspirational film.”

A US/UK/Sweden coproduction, the film was produced by Simon Chinn and Malike Bendjelloul and executive produced by John Battsek. It will be released theatrically in the United Kingdom on August 17 through StudioCanal. Rodriguez and Malik Bendjelloul will attend the Sheffield opening night event.

The full Sheffield Doc/Fest film program will be announced on Thursday, May 10 in London. Tickets will go on sale on Monday, May 14.

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Jonathan Paul is a Toronto-based writer into creativity, content, advertising, tech, comics, video games, film, TV, time and space travel.