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Les Blank

Les Blank (b. 1935, Tampa, Florida, United States) is an American documentary filmmaker best known for his engaging 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. Following his university education he founded his own production company, Flower Films, and all 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, tamburica, and Hawaiian musics. Many of these films are 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 on the music itself but on the music's cultural context, lending richness to the portrayals of the surroundings from which these American roots musics come.

Other notable films on non-musical subjects include a film about garlic and another about gap-toothed women. His most recent project, White Feathers, Black Bones, begun in 1997 and as yet unreleased, is a profile of the Berkeley, California-based tea importer and adventurer David Lee Hoffman.

Blank lives in California.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2005.

Les Blank Facts

BirthdayNovember 27, 1935 (85)
BirthplaceTampa, Florida, USA

Selected Filmography

Criterion Collection: Burden of Dreams
Les Blank: Always for Pleasure
A Poem Is a Naked Person
Burden of Dreams
All In This Tea
J'Ai Ete au Bal
World Class Documentaries
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