Oscar-winner Malik Bendjelloul Dead at 36; took IDFA by storm in '12

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The producer, director, writer and editor of the documentary film Searching for Sugarman, which won big at the International Documentary Film Festival (IDFA), was found dead in Stockholm, Sweden, on Tuesday.  Malik Bendjelloul was 36, and was confirmed dead by police spokeswoman Pia Glenvik. No cause of death has yet been given, but police do not suspect foul play. Bendjelloul's film Searching for Sugar Man won the audience and the music documentary awards at the 25th IDFA in Amsterdam in 2012. It was also a big hit at the Sundance Film Festival that year, and won an Oscar. The film chronicles the efforts of two Cape Town music fans to discover the truth about the mysterious 'death' of reclusive American singer Sixto Rodriguez, who is still "bigger than Elvis" in South Africa.

A Rodriguez tape somehow made it into censorship-ridden South Africa of the 70s. The singer's anti-establishment Detroit voice gave spirit to a nation deep in the clutches of apartheid. Various rumors spread about his sudden death, including one in which he set himself on fire on stage. The two fans from Cape Town set about to find out the truth in the 1990s, to discover that he was not only very much alive, but also never made it big in the US, living in a dingy apartment in Detroit. They brought him to South Africa for a concert, where he is still very popular. Bendjelloul grew up in Sweden, and worked as a reporter for Swedish public broadcaster SVT before quitting his job and backpacking through South Africa looking for stories. That is when he came up with the idea for the film about Rodriguez, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

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