36-year-old Malik Bendjelloul (right), who won a Best Documentary Oscar for his 2012 film, Searching For Sugar Man, was found dead in Stockholm today. A police spokesperson confirmed Bendjelloul’s death, but didn’t specify a cause. Foul play is not suspected.
Bendjelloul was actually a child actor before becoming a documentarian, appearing on the Swedish series “Ebba och Didrik” as a 12-13 year old before writing, directing, producing, and editing his only film, which won him an Oscar. Not bad for a first effort. Ironic now that it was about a singer everyone thought was dead.
“Searching for Sugar Man,” about the life and career of American singer Sixto Rodriguez, won 2013 docu Oscar as well as awards from Bafta, the IDA, the PGA and the DGA.
Born in Sweden, Bendjelloul appeared on TV as a child and then studied journalism and media production. He produced music documentaries for Swedish television and worked as a TV reporter before leaving to travel in Africa and South America.
He filmed the story partly on an iPhone, and the film was accepted as opening night film at Sundance before it was even finished.
“I was backpacking around Africa and South America looking for stories with a camera. I found six stories and this was one of the six. I thought it was the best story I’d ever heard,” he told the Independent newspaper in 2012. [Variety]
He was only 36, but it’s safe to say he already accomplished more than most of us will. Though I did make a really good sandwich a few hours ago. RIP.