UPDATED, 2:58 PM: Malik Bendjelloul‘s older brother Johan told the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet today that the filmmaker’s death was a suicide.
PREVIOUSLY, May 13: The Oscar-winning filmmaker behind Searching For Sugar Man was found dead today in Stockholm. Malik Bendjelloul was 36. No cause of death was reported, but local police told the newspaper Expressen that it was not being treated as suspicious. Bendjelloul won the Academy Award for Best Documentary last year for Sugar Man, about a personal search for the reclusive musician Sixto Diaz Rodriguez. He recorded a pair of LPs in the early 1970s as Rodriguez that went nowhere in the U.S. but were huge and influential in South Africa. But Rodriguez was unaware of the albums’ overseas success, and he faded completely from public view for decades. Searching For Sugar Man is about fans’ personal search to find him. Bendjelloul directed, produced, edited and co-wrote the pic, which opened Sundance in 2012 and went on to win the Audience Award. The film also would score documentary honors from the DGA, PGA, WGA, BAFTA, NBR and many other groups and festivals.
Born September 14, 1977, in Ystad, Skåne län, Sweden, Bendjelloul was a regular on the 1990 Swedish series Ebba och Didrik. He went on to produce musical documentaries for Swedish Television. Searching For Sugar Man was his first feature docu.