Film premiered in world docu competition

In the first deal at Sundance, Sony Pictures Classics has acquired the rights in North America to Swedish director Malik Bendjelloul’s helming debut “Searching for Sugar Man.”

Sony Classics announced the deal Friday at Sundance, following its premiere Thursday night in the world docu competition.

Pic focuses on the story of Rodriguez, a singer discovered in Detroit in the late 1960s who failed to catch on commercially, then disappeared into obscurity amid rumors of a gruesome on-stage suicide — but a bootleg recording found its way into apartheid South Africa and, over the next two decades, he became a phenomenon. The film follows the story of two South African fans who set out to find out what really happened to their hero.

“Sugar Man” is produced by Simon Chinn of Red Box Films and exec produced by John Battsek of Passion Pictures in association with Canfield Pictures and the Documentary Co.

Josh Braun and David Koh at Submarine Entertainment brokered the deal with Sony Pictures Classics, with Protagonist Pictures handling international sales.

SPC noted that “Sugar” is the third film its released from Battsek following “One Day in September” and “My Kid Could Paint That.”

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