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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Gainesville’s music gurus can witness the life story of the lesser-known folk-rocker Sixto Diaz Rodriguez, with the limited release screening of “Searching for Sugarman” at Regal Cinemas 14 Friday.

“Searching for Sugarman” is a film that showcases the true story of Rodriguez, the Detroit rocker who never blew up in the mainstream America of the ‘70s. This film follows two fans on the search for their music idol who, along the way, separate the true story of Rodriguez’s life from the myths of alleged suicide and a lost catalog of music.

After his failure to gain popularity in the U.S., Rodriguez went off the radar. During that time, a bootleg copy of his album found its way to South Africa, gained attention through commercial distribution and grew to be a huge success.

Ironically, Rodriguez had no idea what a celebrity he had become with the international music fans in South Africa.

Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert gave “Searching for Sugarman” a four-star rating — his highest rating for films.

“His songs became anthems of the anti-apartheid movement,” Ebert said of Rodriguez.

The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival this year and had three limited screenings across the country in August, said Brittany Brave, college marketing representative for Sony Music Entertainment.

Gainesville was one of six cities in Florida chosen for the film screening and, although the reason is unknown, Gainesville’s music fans will be able to appreciate its release.

“We’ve got a city with a rich music scene, and that’s a huge part of the reason why Gainesville could have been chosen,” Brave said. “Between fans, musicians and other enthusiasts, Gainesville has a lot of people who would appreciate Rodriguez’s story.”

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