Director: Amy Scott
Production: Shark Pig
“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’s often overlooked amid the crowd of luminaries from his generation.
Amy Scott’s exuberant portrait—drawn from rare archival materials, interviews, personal letters, and audio recordings—explores that curious oversight, revealing a passionate, obsessive artist. Having hitchhiked to LA, Ashby eventually landed in the editing room, where a chance encounter with Norman Jewison brought his big break (and a lifelong friendship). Ashby’s subsequent films were guided by compassion and deep engagement with social justice, class, and race.
Ashby was a Hollywood director who constantly clashed with Hollywood. His uncompromising nature pitted him against studio meddling, particularly in the 1980s, when a string of flops tarnished his legacy, but Scott conjures the special quality Ashby’s films possess—an elusive blend of honesty, irreverence, humor, and humanity. Through Hal, you feel buoyed by Ashby’s love of people and of cinema, a little like walking on water.”