The acclaimed chronicle about Sixto Rodriguez, a U.S. singer-songwriter who failed to catch on in the 1970s, only to become the voice of a whole generation in Apartheid-era South Africa, also won the Creative Recognition Award for Best Music for Rodriguez's original songs and Bendjelloul's additional score.
Earlier this week, "Searching for Sugar Man" was named best documentary by the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures and also made the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' short list for documentary features that have qualified to move forward in the voting process for the Oscar.
Best Short Honors went to HBO's "Saving Face," directed by Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, which also won the Academy Award in February.
PBS' "American Masters" series received the Best Continuing Series' honor during Friday night's ceremony hosted by comedian/illusionist/author Penn Jillette. And Investigation Discovery's "On Death Row," written and directed by renowned German filmmaker Werner Herzog, won Best Limited Series.
Oscar-wining producer Arnold Shapiro ("Scared Straight") was this year's recipient of IDA's Career Achievement Award. David France, the first-time director of "How to Survive a Plague," received the Jacqueline Donnet Emerging Filmmaker Award. Earlier this week, the New York Film Critics Circle honored France with its best first film award. The documentary also made the Academy's short list.
IDA's Pioneer Award, recognizing "extraordinary contributions to advancing the nonfiction form and providing exceptional vision and leadership to the documentary community," went to the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and Fund. Carla Mertes, director of the program, accepted the award on behalf of Sundance.
Other awards presented Friday night:
David L. Wolper Student Documentary Award: "La Camioneta"
ABCNews Videosource Award: "Harvest of Empire"
Humanitas Documentary Award: "Bitter Seeds"
Pare Lorentz Award: "The Island President"
Best Cinematography: Peter Gerdehag, "Women with Cows"
Best Writing: Keith Patterson, "Ann Richards' Texas"