Culture Films iPhones News, , , , — November 16, 2012 16:58 — 1 Comment

Searching for Sugar Man – on an iPhone

sugar man, Mark Bendjellou, documentary, iphone

Sixto Rodriguez, the elusive Mr Sugar Man

Director tells of struggle to make his music documentary, and how an iPhone helped with the shoot

When Mark Bendjelloul’s started out making his debut documentary, Searching for Sugar Man, five years ago he had no idea how tough it was going to be – or that parts of the film would be shot on an iPhone.

Searching for Sugar Man is about Sixto Rodriguez, an American folk singer who made it big in apartheid-era South Africa and then vanished, has been the must-see doc of the year, and won the prestigious jury prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

In an interview with, Bendjelloul talks about how difficult it was to secure funding, perhaps because of its obscure subject matter and the complexity of the film. Whatever the reasons investors were not interested, or worse, promised funds only to back out of the project at a later date.

Unperturbed, Bendjelloul carried on, and with little or no budget he had to be resourceful, which is where the iPhone comes in.

Many of the scenes, he says, were shot on the Apple device and also on a Sony PMW-EW1 digitial camera, which is the cheapest HD camera on the market.

Although in the end, Searching for Sugar Man may have exaggerated the mystery and played loose with some of the facts, it’s a great story all the same and we applaud Bendjelloul’s use of the iPhone to realise his dream.

Have you seen Searching for Sugar Man? What did you think? Is it obvious which scenes were shot on the iPhone? Let us know!

• Source doc: Malik Bendjelloul: Searching for Sugar Man

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About the author

Tony Myers has written 866 articles for Smart Movie Making

Fooling around with the iPhone since 2010. Taking it to the next web by writing about new media, new technology, new wave cinema and the digital revolution.

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