Film Hawk is based on the life of Bob Hawk. The documentary traces his early years as a young gay child of a Methodist minister to his current career as a consultant on some of the most influential independent films of our time.

This is a personal look at a man who has dedicated his life to the arts. And also an inside look at the struggles and triumphs of indie filmmaking, told by the filmmakers themselves.

Featuring Kevin Smith, Edward Burns, Rob Epstein, and more. Made for under $30k. Film Hawk premiered at the 2016 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL

What We Thought:

Bob Hawk. Do you know that name? Probably not, but if you’ve watched an independent movie at a film festival over the past 30 years you’ve definitely seen his influence. Film Hawk is a pretty eye-opening documentary on a man most people aren’t familiar with yet they know his work or works that have been seen because of him.

I’ve said it before that besides writing about movies, I also work in film and make my own projects. Two filmmakers who were a big reason for me getting into film are Kevin Smith and Edward Burns. Kevin sort of looks like me and even though I’m from Boston and Ed is from New York, he tells Irish Catholic stories that feel like my life & family. To see how Bob influenced their careers and their start in the business was pretty cool. Kevin Smith gets extremely emotional talking about Bob and what he meant to his career. Clerks was shown at a theater with only a handful of people and one was Bob who spread the word of the movie and changed Kevin’s life. Later on Bob would even live with Kevin back in New Jersey and appear in his films.

But Bob’s influence goes back decades. He spent time in California and New York in the arts scene especially the gay scene at the time. He was very openly gay and knew he was gay before he knew what gay was. He helped with a documentary about Harvey Milk that would eventually win an Oscar in the 1980s. Being a part of the independent film scene allowed him to see and be part of all kinds of gay and lesbian films. Before they were called independent they were called underground films and Bob saw them all.

The thing that stands out the most in the film is how beloved Bob is. Kevin Smith is moved to tears while talking about how Bob changed his life. Others talk about how little was asked by Bob to help them. His brother didn’t have a close relationship with him as a kid because he was an athlete and into girls and Bob, well, wasn’t. But it shows how they’ve grown as adults and the close relationship Bob has with his family. Every person interviewed has an emotional response when talking about him and what he means to them.

Film Hawk is a movie for people who know of Bob Hawk, but also for people who want to learn about a man who had a huge influence on movies we’ve seen. I know my passion for film wouldn’t be what it is if it wasn’t for this man’s influence. A fascinating story about a truly interesting man.


Cast & Crew:

  • Bob Hawk
  • Edward Burns
  • Kevin Smith
  • Rob Epstein

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