Malik Bendjelloul, Swedish Filmmaker Behind "Searching For Sugar Man", dead at 36

Acclaimed Swedish film director Malik Bendjelloul has died at the age of 36. Bendjelloul was best known for his work on the Oscar-winning music documentary Searching for Sugar Man.

Malik Bendjelloul
Bendjelloul, left, won an Oscar for Searching for Sugar Man.

According to police spokeswoman Pia Glenvik, speaking for The Associated Press, Bendjelloul died in Stockholm late Tuesday, however the cause of death has not been announced. Glevnik did say that Bendjelloul’s death was not suspicious, that is, no crime is suspected in relation to the director’s passing.

Searching for Sugar Man won the Oscar for Best Documentary in 2013. The film tells the story of American singer Sixto Rodriguez. who became a superstar in South Africa without knowing about it. Searching for Sugar Man was the first Swedish film to receive the honor since Ingmar Bergman’s Fanny and Alexander in 1984.

Malik Bendjelloul
Bendjelloul had just had a career breakthrough in 2013.

Bendjelloul was described as laid back and unassuming. His started his career in media, working for Swedish broadcaster SVT, but later left to go traveling. He got the idea for Searching for Sugar Man — his first feature film — during one of his trips, but it would take him more than four years to complete the film.

His death has left the Swedish film community in shock.

Swedish film critic Hynek Pallas, who traveled with Bendjelloul to Hollywood when he received the Oscar, described him as a modest, but very determined man.

More: Searching for Sugar Man Director Found Dead In Stockholm

Malik Bendjelloul
No official cause of death has been released.

“He was an incredibly talented storyteller,” Pallas told the AP. “He had the strength of a marathon runner; to work on his film for so many years and sometimes without money, then you have a goal.”


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