‘Searching For Sugarman’ Director Dies at 36

Published on May 14, 2014. Updated October 15, 2014
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Malik Bendjelloul, the 36 year old director who offered 2013’s Oscar-winning documentary, Searching For Sugar Man, has died from suicide.

The Swedish-born Bendjelloul enjoyed a long career in entertainment, regardless of dying at a relatively young age. As a child he did a lot of acting, and was well-known for his work on Swedish television programming. He went into broadcasting as on-air talent, before taking the reins behind the camera and moving into documentary style work.

Bendjelloul was responsible for shooting short documentaries on several subjects in the music industry, including Elton John, Bjork, Rod Stewart and Kraftwerk. It wasn’t until he was travelling the world for his own enjoyment, that he met two individuals in South Africa who introduced him to the legend of Sixto Rodriguez.

Bendjelloul jumped outside of the box to shoot his documentary, opting to stiff arm contemporary technology, and shoot on Super 8mm film. Because the process of hunting Rodriguez was painstakingly long and tiresome, Searching For Sugar Man investors put an end to their offerings, forcing Bendjelloul to continue on his own.

Instead of slowing the process to earn out-of-pocket funds for more film stock, Bendjelloul used an iPhone app designed to capture footage with 8mm FX. Once Sixto Rodriguez was discovered in Detroit, Michigan, a buzz began to grow within the film community about this treasure hunt of a documentary, and the film was destined to become a worldwide success.

Bendjelloul enjoyed a seven year whirlwind of making, premiering, discussing and winning awards for Searching For Sugar Man. One can only wonder–with exceptional speculation–if the lull following such an achievement was the cause of suicidal depression.

For more information on Malik’s death and legacy, check out the video below.

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