Back when Morris was still a struggling Berkeley grad student, the legendary German director Werner Herzog promised to eat one of his weathered desert boots if Morris ever had the “guts” to finally make a movie. When Morris premiered Gates of Heaven, Herzog made good on his pledge, and Tampa native Les Blank (who would go on to chronicle the ill-fated production of Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo in his documentary Burden of Dreams) was there to capture the event in all its bizzaro glory. –Florida Film Festival
Les Blank (b. 27 November 1935, Tampa, Florida, United States) is an American documentary filmmaker best known for his portraits of American traditional musicians.
Blank attended Tulane University in New Orleans, where he received a B.A. in English literature and an M.F.A. in theater. He had also studied communications at the University of Southern California. Following his university education he founded his own production company, Flower Films, and most of his films since that time have been independently produced, often with the assistance of grants from cultural agencies, both governmental and non-governmental.
Most of his films focus on American traditional music forms including (among others) blues, Appalachian, Cajun, Creole, Tex-Mex, polka, tamburitza, and Hawaiian musics. Many of these films represent the only filmed documents of musicians who are now deceased.
Blank’s films focusing on musical subjects often spend much of their running time focusing not… read more
Remembrances of Roger Ebert, the loss of Les Blank, Michael Snow on Aki Onda, stunning sketches by Massimo Carnevale & more.