Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Free screening: "Burden of Dreams"

[Press release from our friends at The MacDowell Colony in Peterborough.]

MacDowell Colony to screen film by 2007 MacDowell medalist, Les Blank

On Friday, August 3, 2007, at 7:30 p.m., The MacDowell Colony will present a free screening of Burden of Dreams (1982), a film by this year’s Edward MacDowell Medalist, maverick documentary filmmaker Les Blank. Considered by many to be Blank’s best film, Burden of Dreams documents German filmmaker Werner Herzog’s five-year attempt to complete his epic feature Fitzcarraldo in the Amazon jungle. Honored with a British Academy Award for Best Documentary in 1982, Burden of Dreams — a fascinating glimpse into the moviemaking process — reveals just how far one man will go to bring his creative vision to life.

With a running time of 95 minutes, the film will be shown at the Peterborough Historical Society at 19 Grove Street in downtown Peterborough. The screening is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served. Some content may not be appropriate for children.

Regarded as one of the seminal figures in documentary filmmaking, Blank has explored a wide range of subjects in his work by profiling passionate people at the periphery of American society. He has uncovered Polish-American polka musicians (In Heaven There Is No Beer?), Appalachian fiddlers (Sprout Wings and Fly), and American tourists in Europe (Innocents Abroad). About Blank’s work, Time critic Jay Cocks wrote, “I can’t believe that anyone interested in movies or America ... could watch [his] work without feeling they’d been granted a casual, soft-spoken revelation.” New York Times critic Vincent Canby has said that Blank “is a master of movies about the American idiom ... one of our most original filmmakers.”

Blank will receive the Edward MacDowell Medal in a public ceremony during the annual Medal Day celebration on Sunday, August 12, 2007, beginning at 12:15 p.m. on The MacDowell Colony grounds in Peterborough. After the award ceremony, Colony guests will enjoy picnic lunches, and current MacDowell artists-in-residence will open their studios to the public from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. There is no charge to attend the ceremony or the open studios. The Colony is grateful for the support of its 2007 Medal Day Corporate Partner, Lincoln Financial Group Foundation.

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