Malik Bendjelloul

Malik Bendjelloul
Malik Bendjelloul Deauville 2012.jpg
Bendjelloul at the 2012 Deauville American Film Festival
Born (1977-09-14)14 September 1977
Ystad, Skåne, Sweden[1]
Died 13 May 2014(2014-05-13) (aged 36)
Solna, Stockholm, Sweden
Cause of death Suicide
Nationality Swedish
Occupation Film director, actor, screenwriter, journalist
Years active 1990–2014
Known for Searching for Sugar Man (2012)

Malik Bendjelloul (Arabic: مالك بن جلول‎; 14 September 1977 – 13 May 2014) was a Swedish documentary filmmaker, journalist and former child actor.[2][3] He directed the 2012 documentary Searching for Sugar Man, which won an Academy Award and a BAFTA Award.

Early life

Bendjelloul was born in Ystad in Sweden, 55 kilometres (34 mi) east of Malmö, the son of Algerian-born physician Hacène Bendjelloul and Swedish translator and painter Veronica Schildt Bendjelloul.[2] He was the brother of journalist Johar Bendjelloul[4] and the nephew of actors Peter and Johan Schildt.[5][6] Bendjelloul grew up in central and southern Sweden (Ängelholm)[7] and during the 1990s acted in the SVT TV series Ebba och Didrik as Philip Clavelle.[4][8] The episodes were directed by his uncle, Peter Schildt.[5] Bendjelloul was educated at the Rönne Gymnasium in Ängelholm, where he entered the social science programme. He graduated in 1996.[5] He then attended Kalmar University, where he studied journalism and media production.[8][9]


Bendjelloul started his television career as a reporter on Swedish public television (SVT), where he worked as a freelancer and journalist for Kobra. His career also included working as a host for the breakfast television programme Gomorron Sverige as well as for the morning radio programme P1-morgon for Sveriges Radio.[5][7] Prior to working for SVT, he also worked for an independent production company, Barracuda Film & TV.[5][10] Subsequently, he left the job to direct documentaries on musicians including Elton John, Rod Stewart, Björk and Kraftwerk.[8]

Bendjelloul's documentary Searching for Sugar Man won the 2013 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.[11][12] Bendjelloul also won the 2013 BAFTA Award, Directors Guild of America, Producers Guild of America, Writers Guild of America, American Cinema Editors, the Sundance audience and special jury accolades[13] and the 2012 International Documentary Association awards. Eventually, the documentary achieved commercial success as well and made $3.6 million (£2.7 million) at the box office. The film documents the revival of Sixto Rodriguez's musical career.[8]

In 2013, Bendjelloul was invited to host a show on the Swedish radio show Sommar i P1, where he told the listeners about the process behind Searching for Sugar Man.[4]


At rush hour on 13 May 2014 Malik Bendjelloul died by suicide after throwing himself in front of an oncoming train at the Solna centrum metro station in Stockholm[14] after struggling with depression, as reported by his brother Johar.[15][16] At the time of his death, he was working on a film project based on Lawrence Anthony's book The Elephant Whisperer.[17]



  1. ^ Tora Dahlström (25 February 2013). "Vi är jättestolta över Malik". Sydnytt (in Swedish). Retrieved 6 March 2013.
  2. ^ a b Rohter, Larry (20 July 2012). A Real-Life Fairy Tale, Long in the Making and Set to Old Tunes Retrieved 26 February 2013.
  3. ^ Swedish Film Institute Database: Malik Bendjelloul Retrieved 26 February 2013.
  4. ^ a b c Sveriges Radio "Sommar i P1: Summary in English: "You've only got three months". Retrieved 14 May 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d e Henricson, Emelie (26 February 2013). "Malik – från barnens favorit till världsstjärna" (in Swedish). Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  6. ^ Eijde, Malin (5 May 2014). "Johan Schildt har valt skratt före tragedi". Helsingborgs Dagblad (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 15 May 2014. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  7. ^ a b Lundblad, Michael (16 August 2012). "Ängelholmaren som gör succé". Helsingborgs Dagblad (in Swedish). Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  8. ^ a b c d Alexander, Ella (14 May 2014). "Malik Bendjelloul: Searching for Sugar Man director dies aged 36". The Independent. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
  9. ^ "Searching for Sugar Man director Malik Bendjelloul dies aged 36". The Guardian. 14 May 2014. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
  10. ^ Wennö, Nicholas (13 May 2014). "Malik Bendjelloul är död". Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish). Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  11. ^ "The 85th Academy Awards (2013) Nominees and Winners". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. AMPAS. Archived from the original on 1 October 2014. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
  12. ^ Olsen, Mark (24 February 2013). "Oscars 2013: 'Searching for Sugar Man' wins best documentary". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  13. ^ "2012 Sundance Film Festival Announces Awards". Sundance Film Festival. 28 January 2012. Archived from the original on 28 April 2012. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  14. ^ Johnson, Scott (11 June 2014). "Oscar to Suicide in One Year: Tracing the 'Searching for Sugar Man' Director's Tragic Final Days". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  15. ^ Lindberg, Johan; Nyman, Emelie (13 May 2014). "Filmskaparen Malik Bendjelloul har avlidit". Svenska Dagbladet (in Swedish). Retrieved 13 May 2014.
  16. ^ Bruce Weber (13 May 2014). "Malik Bendjelloul, 36, Oscar Winner for 'Sugar Man' Documentary, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  17. ^ Cederskog, Georg (14 May 2014). "Han hade varit deprimerad". Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish). Retrieved 15 May 2014.

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