Docs

Les Blank passes away

BAFTA-winning documentarian Les Blank (pictured), the director behind films such as Burden of Dreams and In Heaven There is No Beer, has died at the age of 77.
April 8, 2013

BAFTA-winning documentarian Les Blank (pictured), the director behind films such as Burden of Dreams and In Heaven There is No Beer, has died at the age of 77.

He leaves behind a portfolio of 42 films, which covered topics including musicians (Dizzy Gillespie, Hot Pepper, Sprout Wings and Fly); food (Garlic is as Good as 10 Mothers, All in This Tea); and fellow filmmakers (Burden of Dreams, Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe).

Among the accolades he accrued, Blank received lifetime achievement awards from the American Film Institute and the International Documentary Association, and won a Best Documentary BAFTA. The latter came for perhaps his best known film, 1982′s Burden of Dreams, which followed Werner Herzog as he attempted to make the film Fitzcarraldo.

Blank was also due to be honored with the 2013 Outstanding Achievement Award at Canadian festival Hot Docs later this month.

The American filmmaker died at his home in California on Sunday (April 7), nearly a year after being diagnosed with cancer, according to his son, Harrod Blank.

In addition to Harrod, Les is survived by a daughter, Ferris; another son, Beau; and three grandchildren, according to The New York Times, which first reported the news of his passing yesterday.

About The Author
Senior staff writer Frederick Blichert comes to realscreen with a background as a journalist and freelance film critic. He has previously written for VICE, Paste Magazine, Senses of Cinema, Xtra, Canadian Cinematographer and elsewhere. He holds a Master of Arts in film studies from Carleton University and a Master of Journalism from the University of British Columbia.

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