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February 25, 2013

Cape Town-filmed Searching for Sugar Man wins Best Documentary Academy Award

Searching for Sugar Man, filmed in Cape Town about the rediscovery of musical legend Rodriguez, has won the 2013 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Photo courtesy of Big Concerts

And the 2013 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature goes to … Searching for Sugar Man, a film focused on the rediscovery of elusive musician Rodriguez and partially filmed in Cape Town, the inspirational Mother City!

Searching for Sugar Man beat its fellow nominees 5 Broken Cameras, The Gatekeepers, How to Survive a Plague and The Invisible War to win the Best Documentary Feature category at the 85th annual Academy Awards on Sunday 24 February, 2013.

While it comes as no surprise to most admirers, since this 101-minute feature – which showcases some of Cape Town’s most spectacular scenery, including a stunning view along Chapman’s Peak Drive between Noordhoek and Hout Bay, a striking sight of the city centre and Cape Town Stadium from the Cape Sun Hotel, and a glorious sunset  vision of Table Mountain from Blaauwberg – has been striking gold at every conceivable awards ceremony, including the Baftas  and Screen Writer’s Guild, the Oscar win is an honour of the highest regard and places the Mother City firmly in the world’s sights.

Cape Town is the beautiful backdrop for the Academy Award-winning documentary Searching for Sugar Man. Photo courtesy of Cape Town Tourism

Directed by first-time director Malik Bendjelloul, Searching for Sugar Man follows the incredible journey of two Sixto Rodriguez fans, Craig Bartholomew Strydom, a journalist, and Stephen "Sugar" Segerman, Capetonian businessman and the owner of the Mother City’s huge popular retro music store, Mabu Vinyl, in Gardens (just off the chic Kloof Street), as they investigate the  grossly exaggerated rumoured death of  the Cold Fact singer, leading to the rediscovery of the legend as a blue-collar worker in Detroit, Michigan.

Rodriguez, who performed at a series of concerts at the Grand West Casino and Entertainment World’s Grand Arena in February 2013, was largely overlooked in the United States, his home country, but South Africans idolised him, particularly after the release of his two albums, Cold Fact and Coming from Reality, in the 1970s. As seen in the movie, he had no idea of his superstar status in South Africa.

The 2012 documentary, which had fans revelling in the musical genius of their hero, features Rodriguez and his family visiting the Mother City during his 1998 comeback concert tour, as well as interviews with Segerman and Eva, the singer’s daughter, including enjoying the views of the city from Signal Hill and performing to a huge, adoring crowd at the Bellville Velodrome.

Last seen visiting Table Mountain, one of the New7Wonders of Nature, before his latest performance in Cape Town on Thursday 21 February, 2013, Rodriguez was unable to attend the Los Angeles-based ceremony.

"He (Rodriguez) didn't want to take any of the credit himself. That just about says everything about that man and his story that you want to know," said producer Simon Chinn in his acceptance speech at the Academy Awards.

Re-live the wonder of Searching for Sugar Man and Cape Town in the trailer below:

Would you like to follow in Rodriguez’s footsteps by visiting Cape Town? We have all of your accommodation, attractions and activities information here.


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