If you’ve never heard of Rodriguez, you’re not alone. A critically acclaimed 70’s-era Detroit-based singer-songwriter, Rodriguez seemed on his way to achieving rock star status with his distinctive voice and lyrics earning him the nickname “Sugar Man.” But when the sales of his potential breakout album bombed, this elusive artist, touted as the next Bob Dylan, drifted into obscurity in the US, accompanied by mysterious rumors of a tragic death. However, in South Africa under apartheid, a bootleg copy of his album spawned a huge underground following. With his antiestablishment lyrics gaining a generation of obsessively loyal listeners, “He was bigger than Elvis.” When two fans set off on a search to unravel the mystery of “Sugar Man’s” fate, they encounter a wild chain of events full of unexpected delights. Part gripping detective story, part uplifting portrait of an original talent, this Sundance Audience Award winner is a engaging story of hope and the universal power music holds to bring people together. (Sweden, 2012, 86m).
Q&A with Emily Verellen, Fledgling Fund, on documentary's role in engaging audiences and creating Social Change.