Tampa-born Les Blank, a documentary filmmaker for whom no subject was too small or strange, died of bladder cancer on April 7 at age 77 in Berkeley, Calif. Mr. Blank made 42 films over his career, on subjects ranging from Gap Toothed Women to blues and zydeco music, to the benefits of garlic. His best-known works involved director Werner Herzog: 1982's Burden of Dreams, chronicling Herzog's problems filming Fitzcarraldo in the Peruvian jungle, and Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe, resulting from the subject's lost bet with documentarian Errol Morris. Mr. Blank occasionally visited Tampa Bay with his movies, notably at the long-defunct Chinsegut Film and Video Festival. Two of Mr. Blank's films, Chulas Fronteras and Garlic Is as Good as Ten Mothers, were chosen for preservation by the National Film Registry. Another, 1984's In Heaven Here is No Beer? won a Sundance Film Festival special jury prize. Mr. Blank also earned a lifetime achievement award from the American Film Institute in 1990. — Steve Persall, Times movie critic
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Tampa-born filmmaker Les Blank dies
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