One of a number of enjoyable films about films and their champions, Film Hawk, more than most, opts for a very inside baseball look at one of the industry’s well-known figures.
Bob Hawk is a name you might not have heard, though you’ll know those on whom he has had a sizeable impact. Opening with a deeply moving monologue by Kevin Smith on, surprisingly, just how consequential Hawk was to the then struggling filmmaker’s early career and subsequent box office success, Smith’s contribution will hit a chord with anyone, anywhere who has ever struggled to get noticed or even a project off the ground.
Featuring a number of Hollywood personalities, the documentary soon steers into more traditional biopic territory, recounting parts of Hawk’s early life and challenges he faced, though the film is strongest when detailing just how he used his lived experiences to contribute to the industry, making a not insignificant contribution to many features including Oscar-winning Documentary The Times of Harvey Milk.
Most interesting when teasing out Hawk’s knowledge of modern cinema and that of his contemporaries, himself appearing with interviewees in the film, the often intimate portraits of artists’ struggles and just what it has taken in a changing environment to get your creative passions off the ground are both duly informative and frequently engaging.
The segments featuring Smith, above all, who along with the filmmakers holds a very apparent affection for Film Hawk’s subject, are distinctly memorable. Smith’s appearances alongside Hawk, with the pair having lived together for two years, serve as highlights of the documentary, alongside Smith’s most earnest approbations for the man who decades ago told all the right people that the yet unseen Clerks was an undiscovered gem.
A treatment of it’s central figure in equal parts laudable and affectionate, for those with an interest in the ever-evolving industry Film Hawk has a lot to offer.
Film Hawk is screening at the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival