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The Academy Partners with Bamcinématek, Museum of the Moving Image and Uniondocs to Celebrate the Life and Work of Filmmaker Les Blank


Restored 16mm Prints from Academy Film Archive to Be Shown in New York City July 30 – August 4

NEW YORK, NY - The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is proud to announce its New York salute to prolific documentarian Les Blank. Blank, the award-winning American director, producer and cinematographer who died in April, is known for his portraits of American musicians and his unique ability to capture culture through film. The commemoration will kick off at the Academy Theater on July 30, with screenings of restored 16mm film prints from the Academy Film Archive. The Academy is partnering with the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s BAMcinématek and Museum of the Moving Image in Queens on August 1 and August 2 for screenings to further honor Blank’s work. A concluding program at UnionDocs on August 4 will feature a restored print of Blank’s classic work Burden of Dreams as well as a 16mm print of Stoney Knows How (directed by Pacho Lane with cinematography from Les Blank) . The programs will be hosted and attended by Academy Film Archive preservationist Mark Toscano and Harrod Blank, the son of Les Blank.

“The Academy is honored to partner with BAMcinématek, the Museum of the Moving Image and UnionDocs to showcase the work of such an amazing filmmaker and share these newly restored prints with the world,” said Patrick Harrison, The Academy’s New York Program Director.

The schedule of events is as follows:

Tuesday, July 30, at 7:00PM
“An Academy Salute to Les Blank” (78 min. program)
The Academy Theater (111 East 59th Street)

The program includes Blank’s first student film, “Running Around Like a Chicken with Its Head Cut Off” (1960), an homage to Ingmar Bergman’s “Seventh Seal.” Other highlights will include the East Coast premieres of the Academy’s restorations of “Chicken Real” (1970), “Christopher Tree” (1968), and “Spend It All” (1971). Tickets are $5, $3 for Academy members and students, and may be purchased at the Academy Theater box office or online at

Thursday, August 1, at 7:30PM
“The Blues Accordin’ to Les Blank” (85 min. program)
BAM Rose Cinemas, Peter Jay Sharp Building (30 Lafayette Ave)

The program includes a world premiere 16mm restoration screening of Blank’s stunning and elegiac short on Lightnin’ Hopkins’ reminiscences of his youth, “The Sun’s Gonna Shine” (1969). Also screening are “The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins” (1968), a celebration of the renowned Texas bluesman, and “A Well Spent Life” (1972), one of Blank’s most moving documentaries about blues guitar great Mance Lipscomb. Tickets are $13, $8 for BAM Cinema Club members, and $9 for seniors & students. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit

Friday, August 2, at 7:00PM
“Les Blank Tribute Program” (110 min. program)
Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35 Avenue (at 37 Street) in Astoria

The program includes three of Blank’s most beloved films, “Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe” (1979), “Dry Wood” (1973), and “Garlic Is As Good As Ten Mothers” (1980). Tickets, available first-come, first-served on the day of the screening, are $12 for adults, $9 for seniors and students, $6 for children ages 3–12, and free for Museum members. For more information, please call (718) 777-6800 or visit

Sunday. August 4 at 7:30PM
”Burden of Dreams and Stoney Knows How” (124 min. program)
UnionDocs, 322 Union Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

An extraordinary feature-length documentary about the messianic German director Werner Herzog struggling against desperate odds in the Amazon basin to make his epic feature, “Fitzcarraldo.” “Burden of Dreams” was honored with a British Academy Award for Best Documentary of 1982 Director Pacho Lane and Harrod Blank will participate in an onstage conversation following the screening of short subject “Stoney Knows How.” For more information, please visit

For more information on the Academy’s salute to Les Blank, please visit

About The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
The world’s preeminent movie-related organization, with a membership of more than 6,000 of the most accomplished men and women working in cinema. In addition to the annual Academy Awards–in which the members vote to select the nominees and winners-the Academy presents a diverse year-round slate of public programs, exhibitions and events; provides financial support to a wide range of other movie-related organizations and endeavors; acts as a neutral advocate in the advancement of motion picture technology; and, through its Margaret Herrick Library and Academy Film Archive, collects, preserves, restores and provides access to movies and items related to their history. Through these and other activities the Academy serves students, historians, the entertainment industry and people everywhere who love movies.


About BAMcinématek
The four-screen BAM Rose Cinemas (BRC) opened in 1998 to offer Brooklyn audiences alternative and independent films that might not play in the borough otherwise, making BAM the only performing arts center in the country with two mainstage theaters and a multiplex cinema. In July 1999, beginning with a series celebrating the work of Spike Lee, BAMcinématek was born as Brooklyn’s only daily, year-round repertory film program. BAMcinématek presents new and rarely seen contemporary films, classics, work by local artists, and festivals of films from around the world, often with special appearances by directors, actors, and other guests. BAMcinématek has not only presented major retrospectives by major filmmakers such as Michelangelo Antonioni, Manoel de Oliveira, Shohei Imamura, Vincente Minnelli (winning a National Film Critics’ Circle Award prize for the retrospective), Kaneto Shindo, Luchino Visconti, and William Friedkin, but it has also introduced New York audiences to contemporary artists such as Pedro Costa and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. In addition, BAMcinématek programmed the first US retrospectives of directors Arnaud Desplechin, Nicolas Winding Refn, Hong Sang-soo, and, most recently, Andrzej Zulawski. From 2006 to 2008, BAMcinématek partnered with the Sundance Institute and in June 2009 launched BAMcinemaFest, a 16-day festival of new independent films and repertory favorites with 15 NY feature film premieres; the fifth annual BAMcinemaFest ran from June 19—28, 2013.

About Museum of the Moving Image
Museum of the Moving Image ( advances the public understanding, enjoyment, and appreciation of film, television, and digital media. In its expanded and renovated facilities—acclaimed for both its accessibility and bold design—the Museum presents innovative interactive exhibitions; screenings of significant works; discussion programs featuring actors, directors, craftspeople, and business leaders; and dynamic education programs.

About UnionDocs
UnionDocs (UnDo) is a Center for Documentary Art that generates and shares big ideas. We bring together a diverse community of experimental media-makers, dedicated journalists, critical thinkers, and local partners on a search for urgent expressions of the human experience, practical perspectives on the world today, and compelling visions for the future.


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