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 • El Cerrito
 • Contra Costa County
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Les Blank
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Birth: Nov. 27, 1935
Hillsborough County
Florida, USA
Death: Apr. 7, 2013
Alameda County
California, USA

American Documentary Filmmaker. He is best remembered for his documentaries on traditional American musicians that portrayed a wide spectrum of music from Louisiana Cajun and zydeco to blues, polka, and Appalachian old-time music. He attended Tulane University at New Orleans, Louisiana, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English literature and a Master of Fine Arts Degree in theater, as well as studying communications at the University of California at Berkley, California. He originally wanted to become a writer, but while attending graduate school he saw Ingmar Bergman's movie "The Seventh Seal" and was inspired to pursue a filmmaking career. Following his education he founded Flower Films, independently producing most of his films with the assistance of various grants. His music films would focus not only on the music itself, but on its cultural context as well. He would go on to produce over 40 films in his career, including non-musical subjects like "Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe" (1980), "Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers" (1980) "Burden of Dreams" (1982, which was about the shooting of Werner Herzog's movie "Fitzcarraldo"), and "Gap-Toothed Women" (1987). His favorite film subjects were musicians who lived on cultural frontiers, like the Texas songster Mance Lipscomb ("A Well Spent Life," 1971), the zydeco accordionist Clifton Chenier ("Hot Pepper," 1973), and the old-time fiddler and banjo player Tommy Jarrell ("Sprout Wings and Fly," 1983). He also filmed and produced intimate documentaries on musicians Dizzy Gillespie and Sam John "Lightnin" Hopkins. His last film "All in This Tea" (2007), documented the travels of American tea connoisseur importer David Lee Hoffman to the remote tea-growing areas of China. In 1990 he was a recipient of the Maya Deren Award for independent filmmaking and in 2007 he received the annual Edward MacDowell Medal, the first time it was awarded to a documentary filmmaker. He died from bladder cancer at his home at the age of 77. Prior to his death he was notified by the Hot Docs Canadian Documentary Festival that he was to receive their 2013 Outstanding Achievement Award. (bio by: William Bjornstad) 
Sunset View Cemetery
El Cerrito
Contra Costa County
California, USA
Created by: K
Record added: Apr 08, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 108054363
Les Blank
Added by: K
Les Blank
Added by: William Bjornstad
Les Blank
Added by: Titania
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from a friend of your filmmaker friend Kidlat Tahimik
 Added: Mar. 13, 2017
To Les
- Concepcion Bouza
 Added: Nov. 27, 2015

- Janis Coleman
 Added: Apr. 7, 2015
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