The 'Hal' trailer offers a loving look at Hal Ashby

If you’re familiar with the Hal Ashby, you’re definitely going to want to check out the above trailer for Amy Scott‘s new documentary, “Hal”. And if you’re not familiar with the film’s subject, you owe it to yourself to do so and to then get your eyes in front of as many of his films as possible.

Although Hal Ashby directed a remarkable string of acclaimed, widely admired classics throughout the 1970s — “Harold and Maude,” “The Last Detail,” “Shampoo,” “Coming Home,” “Being There” — he is often overlooked amid the crowd of luminaries from his generation.

Amy Scott’s exuberant portrait explores that curious oversight, using rare archival materials, interviews, personal letters, and audio recordings to reveal a passionate, obsessive artist. Ashby was a Hollywood director who constantly clashed with Hollywood, but also a unique soul with an unprecedented insight into the human condition and an unmatched capacity for good. His films were an elusive blend of honesty, irreverence, humor, and humanity.

“Hal” boasts on camera interviews with Academy Award-winning actors Lee Grant, Jane Fonda, Jon Voight, Louis Gossett Jr, Jeff Bridges, and many more, all recalling how they were empowered by Ashby and granted collaborative freedom. Also included is insight from contemporary directors such as Alexander Payne, Judd Apatow, Lisa Cholodenko, and David O. Russell, all of whom attest to the quiet but powerful influence Ashby has had on their own filmmaking. Behind the camera colleagues Norman Jewison, Robert Towne, Haskell Wexler, and Pablo Ferro stand witness to Ashby’s brilliance as a filmmaker and the forces that led to his undoing.

“Hal” is set for a limited release in New York beginning September 7th and in Los Angeles beginning September 14. Check back soon, too, as Moviebill will be sitting down with Amy Scott to chat about her tribute to a cinematic legend.


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