Hot Docs to honour Blank

Copied from Realscreen - Les Blank

Canadian festival Hot Docs is to honour American documentarian Les Blank (pictured) with its 2013 Outstanding Achievement Award, while also celebrating filmmaker Peter Mettler with a ‘Focus On’ retrospective.

Hot Docs will screen a retrospective during its forthcoming 20th annual Festival, which runs April 25 to May 5, celebrating Blank’s career as a director, producer and cinematographer. In addition to a showcase of Mettler’s work, the festival will also look at recent works from Poland in its ‘Made In’ program.

“It’s an honour and a pleasure that Les Blank has accepted this year’s Outstanding Achievement Award,” said Hot Docs director of programming Charlotte Cook. “His is an incredible body of work that explores culture, music, personality and beyond with grace, humour and the highest caliber of craft, and one which has also inspired generations of filmmakers. I can’t wait to bring this retrospective to the Festival and celebrate Les’ wonderful work.”

Cook added that Mettler’s “exploration of imagery, theme and the boundaries of documentary are fascinating and compelling.”

Blank, now 77 years of age, is perhaps best known for his 1982 feature-length film Burden of Dreams, which documents the chaotic production of Werner Herzog’s film Fitzcarraldo in the jungles of South America. The doc won the 1983 BAFTA prize for Best Documentary and was named Best of Festival at the San Francisco Film Festival the same year.

Blank’s other director credits include Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins (1969); Chulas Fronteras (1976); Always for Pleasure (1978); Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers (1980); In Heaven There is No Beer? (1984); Gap-Toothed Women (1987); and All in this Tea (2007).

Mettler’s documentary film credits, meanwhile, include Picture of Light (1994); Gambling, Gods and LSD (2002); Manufactured Landscapes (on which he was cinematographer and creative consultant, 2006); and The End of Time (2012).

Previous Outstanding Achievement Award recipients have included Michel Brault, Terence Macartney-Filgate, Kim Longinotto, Alanis Obomsawin, Richard Leacock, Heddy Honigmann, Werner Herzog, Errol Morris, Michael Maclear, Nick Broomfield, Frederick Wiseman, DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, and Albert Maysles; while past ‘Focus On’ honorees have include John Kastner, Alan Zweig and Tahani Rached.

The exact films chosen to feature as part of the ‘Retrospective’ and ‘Focus On’ will be unveiled next month.