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21 January 2013

Searching for Sugar Man ‘a great showcase’ for Cape Town

The documentary Searching for Sugar Man, which is set in Cape Town, has been nominated for an Oscar, giving the Mother City extensive exposure to international audiences.

Searching for Sugar Man won the 2013 Oscar for the Best Documentary Feature

Viewers are transported to a beautiful Cape Town – a city where inspirational and soulful people work and play. – Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold, Cape Town Tourism CEO.

There’s nothing like a great film to promote a destination: Eat Pray Love did it for Ubud in Bali; Life of Pi is doing it for Pondicherry in India; and Searching for Sugar Man is doing a great job of promoting Cape Town (and South Africa) to international movie-goers.

The documentary tells the story of the search for American singer/songwriter Sixto Diaz Rodriguez – better known as Rodriguez – by 2 South African music-lovers, journalist Craig Bartholomew Strydom and Stephen ‘Sugar’ Segerman.

While Rodriguez was relatively unknown in the United States, his albums were hugely popular in South Africa. But after releasing Cold Fact and Coming from Reality in the early 1970s, the talented songwriter disappeared from the public eye. Although there were rumours that Rodriguez was dead, Segerman and Strydom decided to go on a journey to find their musical hero, even setting up a website called the Great Rodriguez Hunt.

The engaging film takes the viewer on a journey from Cape Town to Detroit and back to South Africa – with gorgeous footage of Cape Town providing a backdrop for some of the narrative.

A British/Swedish collaboration, Searching for Sugar Man premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, where director Malik Bendjelloul walked away with the Special Jury Prize and the Audience Award for best international documentary.

It was announced on 10 January 2013 that Searching for Sugar Man is up for an Oscar in the Documentary Feature category. The film has also been nominated for a Bafta (British Academy of Film and Television Arts), in the Best Documentary category.

Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold, Cape Town Tourism CEO, says, ‘The documentary is a great showcase of Cape Town’s most iconic landmarks like Table Mountain, Lion’s Head, Camps Bay, the cityscape and the ocean road alongside the Twelve Apostles.

"Viewers are transported to a beautiful Cape Town – a city where inspirational and soulful people work and play. The international screening and distribution of the film is leading to tremendous international exposure for Cape Town, and we are very excited about the Oscar nomination. Searching for Sugar Man is putting Cape Town firmly in the hearts and minds of film-goers across the world.'

Rodriguez will be playing a series of concerts in South Africa in February 2013. The Oscars (85th Academy Awards) take place on 24 February 2013.