The first Secret Screening, a new series from the Future Cinema, the people behind Secret Cinema, was launched at The Troxy on Thursday. It was no surprise that the theme of the screening was music based as this was Future Cinema’s first collaboration with the venerable All Tomorrow’s Parties. Upon entering the palatial downstairs area of one of London’s greatest cinemas of yesteryear, the first thing that one noticed were the stalls selling vintage vinyl and not quite as vintage CDs. While the organization may not have been up to scratch (Kraftwerk in UK Dance?) the stalls were abuzz with movie goers.

As the audience of over 1000 people took their seats the house lights dimmed and the air became thick with excited whispers. What followed was a screening of Searching For Sugar Man, the documentary charting the career of Rodriguez. The documentary started off as a seemingly cookie cutter documentary about an artist that hadn’t received the recognition due to him. The audience seemed a little ambivalent to the movie at this point. Then the documentary took an amazing turn. Rodriguez just happened to be one of the most popular artists in South Africa, selling over 500,000 records, which in South Africa certification makes him a multi-platinum selling artist. It was one of the best narrative documentaries in years. First time documentarian Malik Bendjelloul decided to track down this musical hero. The problem was that Rodriguez didn’t know he had sold any records in South Africa and the people of South Africa believed he had killed himself on stage by either self immolating or shooting himself.

Spoiler Alert: It is highly recommended that you don’t read on if you want to see Searching For Sugar Man.

The movie stands as a testament to the power of the internet in the information age. Due to Rodriguez’s lack of popularity in America and the lack of online music distribution or obsessive online fan sites, the people of South Africa were oblivious to the fate of Rodriguez. After some detective work, we find Rodriguez very much alive and completely unaware of his success due to an unscrupulous record label owner. Rodriguez, who was working in construction when he was tracked down, then was taken to South Africa to play a series of sold out shows. The narrative of the documentary plays out like a murder mystery and had the crowd cheering along and applauding the screening. It was a wonderful, communal experience. As the credits rolled to a thunderous ovation, Rodriguez himself took to the stage and played a full set. The crowd instantly rose to their feet and rushed to the stage. It was a magical thing to behold. There was even a talk by director, Malik Bendjellou after the performance. It was one of the most complete cinema going experiences possible and just further cemented Future Cinema’s reputation of producing must see events.

Secret Screenings will be touring Europe for a while now but the next one on British soil can’t come soon enough. 10/10 for the event.