Ajyal Film Festival 2023

All Films

Searching for Sugar Man (Searching for Sugar Man)

Contemporary World Cinema

Malik Bendjelloul / Feature Documentary / Sweden, United Kingdom / 2012 / 85 min / Unknown / 35 mm
In English / Arabic, French subtitles
Interests: Documentary, Music
MENA Premiere


At first glance, ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ seems like a standard music documentary that explores the work and life of Sixto Rodriguez, a Mexican-American singer-songwriter who lived in Detroit in the 70s. His poetic, socially conscious compositions led a couple of producers to record an album of his work; they figured his future success was a foregone conclusion. Yet his first release, ‘Cold Fact’, went nowhere and Rodriguez disappeared – amid rumours of a grisly on-stage suicide. Bootleg copies of his recordings made their way to South Africa, where they enjoyed a huge cult popularity. Two of his biggest fans set out to find out what happened to their vanished musical hero, and in the process uncover a story more surprising than they could ever have imagined. The film has won audience awards at Sundance and many international festivals – it’s one of the hits of the year.

About the Directors

Born in 1977 and based in Stockholm, Malik Bendjelloul is a veteran of music films and music documentaries featuring artists as diverse as Kraftwerk, Björk, Elton John, Madonna, U2 and Prince. He has also worked as an actor on Swedish television, and as producer and creative director of SVT’s cultural weekly programme ‘Kobra’. ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ is his most recent documentary.


Malik Bendjelloul
Malik Bendjelloul, Simon Chinn
Malik Bendjelloul
Executive Producer
John Battsek
Camilla Skagerström

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