Archive of films Searching for Sugar Man / Searching for Sugar Man

Sweden / United Kingdom
2011, 83 min

Section: Documentary Films - Out of Competition
Year: 2012

The director of this suspenseful documentary, Malik Bendjelloul, employs unique archive material and a large dollop of excellent music to investigate the fate of a mysterious singer-songwriter of Mexican parentage named Rodriguez, who quickly fell into oblivion in the USA. Oddly enough, to this very day he is more popular than Elvis in South Africa. The film was awarded at Sundance.


In the late 1960s in Detroit, a mysterious singer-songwriter of Mexican parentage named Rodriguez was discovered. Although his first album, Cold Fact, was favorably reviewed and, according to experienced producers, his soulful, prophetic songs were comparable to the work of Bob Dylan, the talented musician soon fell into oblivion in the USA, and his name became associated with rumors of a shocking suicide onstage at an unsuccessful concert. But in the South African Republic, Rodriguez’s music became increasingly popular and his two albums still sell like hot cakes. As a result, a local music writer decided to play detective, launching an investigation into what happened to Rodriguez. Using unique archive material and a large dollop of excellent music, director Malik Bendjelloul investigates the fate of a man whose final comeback outstrips even the wildest tales in music history. The suspense-filled documentary was awarded at Sundance.

About the director

Malik Bendjelloul

Malik Bendjelloul (b. 1977) lives in Stockholm where he has spent over 20 years directing documentaries, primarily for a wide variety of musicians and bands. In 2001 he shot his first film about Kraftwerk, the German electronica pioneers. This was followed by a documentary series about the history of heavy metal and an independent documentary which saw him cooperating with Björk, Sting, Madonna, and U2, among others. His portrait of Alfred Merhan, the man who lived for nearly 18 years at Charles de Gaulle airport, became Steven Spielberg’s inspiration for Terminal. Bendjelloul is the creator of the controversial documentary about the British pop group The KLF. He has also worked as a director and creative producer for the Swedish TV culture weekly "Kobra,” and he has made numerous music videos and commercials.


Protagonist Pictures
48-48 Great Portland Stcy, W1W 7NB, London
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 207 734 9000
E-mail: [email protected]

About the film

Color, HD CAM

Section: Documentary Films - Out of Competition
Director: Malik Bendjelloul
Dir. of Photography: Camilla Skagerström
Editor: Malik Bendjelloul
Producer: Simon Chinn, Malik Bendjelloul
Production: Red Box Films, Passion Pictures
Contact: Protagonist Pictures


Malik Bendjelloul

Film Director


© 2024 FILM SERVIS FESTIVAL KARLOVY VARY, a.s. [email protected] +420 221 411 011 All contacts

AccommodationsAccommodations Festival Pass, tickets, reservationsFestival Pass, tickets
HistoryHistory ContactsContacts
Archive of filmsArchive of films KVIFF TalksKVIFF Talks
Industry Days Programme 2021Industry Days Programme KVIFF Eastern PromisesKVIFF Eastern Promises
VideogalleryVideogallery PhotogalleryPhotogallery
ContactsContacts Posters of the 57th KV IFFPosters of the 57th KV IFF
HistoryHistory Festival GuideFestival Guide