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
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.

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