One of the great living documentary makers of the modern day, Les Blank joins BYOD. After fifty years making incredible docs that showcase the human spirit through art, struggle and humor, Les Blank has a wealth of knowledge to share with Ondi and Vlad.
Mr. Blank takes us through his early days and his decision to pick up the camera, his jump to film making and dealing with subjects on the outside of society, to dealing with artists to find the human spirit. He spares few details along the way and let’s us in on his life-threatening filming Herzog, from the jungle of South America on “Burden of Dreams,” to filming the director famously eating his own shoe. Mr. Blank is still a brilliant artist and illuminating guide through the history of doc making.
Les Blank is a prize-winning independent filmmaker, who the New York Times have famously called, “a master of movies about the American idiom… one of our most original filmmakers.”
In 1967, after two years in the Ph.D. film program at the University of Southern California, and five years of freelancing in Los Angeles, he began his first independent films, on Texas blues singer Lightnin’ Hopkins (The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins) and the newly forming sub-culture known as flower children, (God Respects Us When We Work, But Loves Us When We Dance).
Blank’s films are marked by series of intimate glimpses into the lives and music of passionate people who live at the periphery of society. Having profiled subjects as soulful and serious as Sonny Rhodes (Cigarette Blues) and Werner Herzog (Burden Of Dreams; Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe), to more whimsical subjects as Garlic Fanatics (Garlic Is As Good As Ten Mothers) and gap-toothed women (Gap-Toothed Women), Mr. Blank has solidified his reputation over the last 50 years as one of America’s most treasured film makers.