Swedish filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul has died at the age of 36, Swedish news site Expressen.se reported Tuesday. The Oscar-winning director was best known for his 2012 documentary “Searching For Sugar Man,” which is about musician Sixto Diaz Rodriguez.
The filmmaker’s brother Johar Bendjelloul told the Swedish news site: “I can confirm that he is dead.” The death is not being treated as suspicious, Anders Petterson of the Stockholm police district of Solna told Expressen, but the cause has yet to be revealed.
Helena Bergstrom, Sweden's "official tweeter" of the month, called his passing "so sad."
So sad. Oscar winner Malik Bendjelloul was found dead today at age 36. http://t.co/FtpIvqpwXD
— @sweden / Helena (@sweden) May 13, 2014
When Bendjelloul won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature in 2013, he was the first Swede to take home an Academy Award since 1951. The director funded his acclaimed film “Searching for Sugar Man” though his personal savings and loans from friends after the financer pulled out of the project.
“When 90 percent of the movie was done, after having edited for three years, the movie’s main financier said the movie was rubbish," Bendjelloul told Swedish radio show "Sommar i P1," according to Expressen. “It ‘didn’t meet the criteria for movies, shown on the big screens.’"
Rodriguez recorded two LPs in the early 1970s and though they weren’t popular in the U.S., they were huge, influential hits in South Africa. Bendjelloul’s film is about his fans trying to find the musician, Deadline.com wrote. Bendjelloul directed, produced, edited and co-wrote the film that premiered at Sundance in 2012 and went on to win numerous awards.
The filmmaker had won nearly 20 awards worldwide, including a “Guldbaggen,” which is a Swedish movie award. Bendjelloul started out working for the Swedish public broadcaster SVT, and was also a well-known child actor in Sweden. He played the character Philip in the 1990 film “Ebba och Didrick.”
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