Aspiring '70s folk rock musician Rodriguez never made it big. Despite critical praise, his albums bombed in the U.S., and he faded promptly into obscurity, leaving behind only urban legends of a gruesome onstage suicide. But somehow a bootleg copy of his album made its way to apartheid South Africa, where his antiestablishment message and distinctive sound resonated with the youth protest movement there, making Rodriguez an instant superstar. Decades later, two intrepid fans decide to investigate whatever happened to the mysterious rocker. While initially frustrated by a dearth of leads, they eventually trace his roots to 1970s Detroit and a producer named Mike Theodore, who drops a bombshell that completely changes the nature of their investigation.
Truly stranger than fiction, this story of a Mexican-American folk singer from Detroit and his unforeseen success spans decades and continents, and is aptly unraveled to the soundtrack of Rodriguez' own haunting original songs. Ultimately the fans uncover a convoluted and unbelievable true story of success, obscurity, politics, and the power of music itself.
Searching for Sugar Man: Heineken Audience Award Second Place Winner (Documentary)
Director: Malik Bendjelloul
Rodriguez was the greatest '70s rock icon who never was. Despite critical praise, his albums bombed in the U.S., and he faded into obscurity among rumors of a gruesome death. But when a bootleg copy of his antiestablishment rock made its way to apartheid South Africa, he was an instant hit. Years later, two intrepid fans investigate whatever happened to the mysterious rocker, setting off a wild chain of events that has to be seen to be believed.