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AWARDS Sweden

While Searching for Sugar Man, Bendjelloul finds new prizes

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- Swedish director Malik Bendjelloul's documentary of the early 1970s American singer-songwriter Sixto Rodriguez is shortlisted for the Oscar

While Searching for Sugar Man, Bendjelloul finds new prizes

Swedish actor-director Malik Bendjelloul's documentary Searching for Sugar Man (photo) was this week named Best Documentary by the US National Board of Review of Motion Pictures, after being the first Swedish documentary to be shortlisted for the Oscars from 126 candidates. (The final nominations will be announced on January 10, and the ceremony takes place on February 24).

With international admissions now closing in on 500,000, Bendjelloul's directorial debut was selected for the Sundance Film Festival, where it won both the Special Jury Prize and the Audience Prize. Following up with top awards in Los Angeles, Moscow, Melbourne and Athens, it most recently took €46,000 from the Best Music Documentary and Audience prizes at Amsterdam's IDFA, the world’s largest documentary film festival, and the Audience Award in Doha, Qatar.

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Searching for Sugar Man explores the life of the late Detroit singer-songwriter Sixto Rodriguez, who never made it in his homeland, but who sold more records than The Rolling Stones in South Africa, where he became a pop music icon and inspiration for generations. He is alleged to have committed suicide, but news reports were not consistent, so 20 years later a South African journalist and a fan decide to find the truth. The film features interviews with his daughters and much of his recorded music.

Also, Swedish director Goran Kapetanovic's short Kiruna-Kigali has been shortlisted for the Oscar, from a starting line-up of 125 titles. Produced by Helena Danielsson and Kapetanovic for Hepp Film, the film follows two women – 18-year-old Malika in Rwanda, 39-year-old Eva in Sweden – who are both about to give birth, with complications.

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