Friday, June 22 , 2018, 5:08 am | Overcast 60º


Carpinteria Theater Will Show Award-Winning Documentary “Searching for Sugar Man”

How was it possible that a relatively obscure singer/songwriter from Detroit, Michigan, became a cultural phenomenon in apartheid South Africa, yet little was known about him in that country?

Did he really exist, or were the rumors true that he had actually shot himself while performing on stage?

Rediscover the Academy Award winner for best documentary feature of 2012 when Classic Rock 99.9 KTYD presents a one-time-only screening of “Searching for Sugar Man” on Saturday, Aug. 1, at 7 p.m. at the Plaza Playhouse Theater.

Written and directed by the late Malik Bendjelloul, the film chronicles the quest of two Cape Town fans in the late '90s to uncover the mystery behind the rumored death of Sixto Rodriguez, and to know, if he was still alive, where he was and what he was doing.

Taking four years to produce, “Searching for Sugar Man” takes you on an international quest to find the man who—though he was popular for a time in Australia where he toured for a few years—never achieved any record sales or radio airplay in the U.S. and simply disappeared into obscurity after recording two albums in the early 70’s.  

Yet, his bootlegged LP’s somehow made their way to South Africa at a time when the country was under the heavy hand of apartheid and censorship. Inexplicably, over the next two decades, Rodriguez became a national hero.

“Searching for Sugar Man” was also honored with Best Documentary awards in 2013 from the British Academy of Film Awards (BAFTA), the Directors Guild of America (DGA), the Writers Guild of America (WGA), the Producers Guild of America (PGA) and the American Cinema Editors (ACE ), among many others.

“This is an amazingly true human interest story that can only be captured in documentary form,” said Peter Bie, film and TV curator for the Plaza. “When it’s over, you’ll stand up and cheer.”  

The film (rated PG-13) will be shown in widescreen with digital projection.         

General admission tickets for “Searching for Sugar Man” are $12 and available on line at or in person at Seastrand, 919 Linden Ave. or Rincon Music, Casitas Plaza Center (near Union Bank) during regular business hours (check or cash only at both locations).            

The non-profit Plaza Playhouse Theater at 4916 Carpinteria Ave. is an intimate, 200-seat venue. It is wheelchair accessible and ADA compliant.  

Plenty of free street and lot parking is nearby. The theater’s concession stand offers all the usual goodies, plus beer and wine for patrons over 21. 

Call the box office at 805.684.6380 for more information.

—Peter Bie represents Plaza Playhouse Theater.

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