Magazine article Screen International

Producer Pays Tribute to Sugar Man Director

Magazine article Screen International

Producer Pays Tribute to Sugar Man Director

Article excerpt

Producers at Sheffield Doc/Fest talk about Oscars race for documentaries.

Producer Simon Chinn paid tribute to Malik Bendjelloul, the 36-year-old director of Oscar winning documentary Searching For Sugar Man who died in May, at a panel which took place during Sheffield's Doc/Fest (June 9).

Sitting on the panel entitled "The Race For the Documentary Oscar," Chinn described the moment the young Swedish director walked into his office with the idea for Searching for Sugar Man.

"He completely won me over, he was a wonderful, infectious enthusiast and he had this story that he thought could go all the way. I remember in our first meeting he uttered the word Oscar," said Chinn, who added that he would "like to dedicate my contribution today to Malik's memory." [He is pictured with Bendjelloul on the night of their Oscar win.]

Also on the Doc/Fest panel were Israeli distributor Cinephil's Philippa Kowarsky, which was behind this year's divisive Oscar nominated documentary The Act of Killing and 2012 shortlisted doc The Gatekeepers, and editor of BBC Storyville Nick Fraser who backed the 2009 Oscar winner Man on Wire, also produced by Chinn.

Speaking about the new Oscar voting system for documentaries introduced in 2012 - which allows Academy members to watch DVD screeners at home and vote online, as opposed to having to watch films in the cinema - Chinn said that "it's certainly a more democratic system than the previous one, but inevitably it ends up favouring popularity and resources. …

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