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Meet the Sundance-Supported Oscar Nominees: Searching for Sugar Man

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Nate von Zumwalt, Editorial Coordinator

Leading up to the 85th edition of the Academy Awards on Sunday, February 24, we’re profiling all 13 of this year’s Sundance-supported Oscar nominees. Click here for the full list of nominees.

Sometimes the most effective documentaries are those that appear to be misclassified. Stories that, absent of a screenplay, seem decidedly fanciful and improbable. So goes Malik Bendjelloul’s Searching for Sugar Man, a brilliant film that courses with the suspense of a mystery thriller and only further entices with its veracity.

Searching seeks to track down the ‘70s Mexican-American musician Rodriguez, whose career was once destined for the annals of rock ‘n’ roll lore. Instead, a mild spark in popularity quickly flamed out, and the man heralded as the “next Bob Dylan” faded alongside. But thousand of miles away, an apartheid South Africa embraced the musician’s subversive message as a soundtrack to their strife. Decades later, a pair of fans resolve to sift through the countless rumors detailing Rodriguez’s life and career, eventually unearthing a pivotal revelation on their way to piecing together the puzzle.

  • Searching for Sugar Man is nominated for Best Documentary at the 2013 Academy Awards
  • The film is Swedish filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul’s first feature-length documentary

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Sundance Institute Piloting Direct Individual Support for Mediamakers Through the Sundance Institute | Humanities Sustainability Fellowship

Long before the COVID-19 pandemic upended life in general, and halted production and distribution for many creatives, the nonfiction field was plagued by issues of sustainability. For several years, sustainability has been an urgent and vigorous topic of study, debate, and organizing, as more and more filmmakers find it difficult, if not impossible, to make a living solely on the basis of their creative work. 

In Memoriam: Diane Weyermann (1955–2021)

A singular force within the documentary film world with a global reach, Diane Weyermann passed away at age 66 after battling cancer. Over the course of her 30-year career as a funder and an executive, her work elevated the documentary form and expanded its cultural impact.

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