Beginning with The Blues Accordin' to Lightnin' Hopkins in 1969, Les Blank has become known for his films about indigenous southern music and various other topics. He has received numerous major awards including the British Academy Award for Burden of Dreams, about Werner Herzog and the making of Fitzcarraldo, top prizes at the Melbourne Film Festival and the Sundance Film Festival for In Heaven There is No Beer?, and the Maya Deren Award for lifetime achievement as an independent filmmaker. Retrospectives of Blank's work have been held at New York's Museum of Modern Art, the National Film Theatre, London, and the Cinematheque Francaise. His filmmaking company, Flower Films, is based in El Cerrito, California.
Les Blank, along with music writer Peter Guralnick, appeared on Screening Room in January 1973 to discuss his recent work and screen The Blues Accordin' to Lightnin' Hopkins, also footage from what later comprised Dry Wood and Hot Pepper.
About the Screening Room series:
In the early 1970s a group of idealistic artists, lawyers, doctors and teachers saw an opportunity to change commercial television in Boston and the surrounding area. It would require years of litigation up to and including the Supreme Court, but the case was won and the Channel 5 license was given to WCVB-TV. Screening Room was one of several programs offered in an effort to provide alternative television viewing. The idea behind Screening Room was to give independent filmmakers an opportunity to discuss their work and show it to a large urban audience. Nearly 100 ninety-minute programs were produced and aired between 1973 and 1980.
Screening Room was developed and hosted by filmmaker Robert Gardner, who at the time, was Director of Harvard's Visual Arts Center and Chairman of its Visual and Environmental Studies Department. His own films include Dead Birds (1964), and Forest of Bliss (1986).
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