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A New Documentary on 'The Hal Ashby Story' Is in the Works (VIDEO)

Photo of Ryan Lattanzio By Ryan Lattanzio | TOH! June 9, 2014 at 5:25PM

Director Amy E. Scott is turning her longtime love of director Hal Ashby, who brought us "Harold and Maude" and "Coming Home" and a dozen other films between the 70s and 80s, into a feature-length documentary tribute.
Hal Ashby
Hal Ashby

Director Amy E. Scott is turning her longtime love of director Hal Ashby, who brought us "Harold and Maude" and "Coming Home" and a dozen other gems in the 70s and 80s, into a feature-length documentary tribute. (Videos after the jump.)

'Coming Home'
'Coming Home'

Currently in the home stretch of its Indiegogo campaign, "Once I Was: The Hal Ashby Story" will cover the director's life and career from debut feature "The Landlord" (1970) through his death in 1988. It has so far raised $48,000 of its $50,000 goal. And with 11 days to go, it should cross the finish line. 

Exec producers (and Ashby fans) Fred Beebe and Brian Miller recently jumped aboard the project, lovingly summarized here by the director herself:

I had to skip film class as a college freshman to see "Harold and Maude." As a student, we were being fed a steady diet of Stanley Kubrick, Chris Marker and Jean Luc Godard- but I found Hal Ashby on my own. I will never forget the visceral reaction I had to that film; his use of music, the heart and soul of his characters, their style, all became the key to unlocking an entire interior world within myself. His subsequent films spoke to me in a language that I had never heard before or since.

'Harold and Maude'
'Harold and Maude'
His streak of films in the 1970s rivals his more famous contemporaries, and personifies Hollywood’s Film Renaissance at that time: its moral ambivalence and political rage, its stylistic audacity and deeply human voice. That he disappeared behind a string of disappointing pictures in the 1980s and died before redeeming his reputation has led many critics to dismiss Ashby as an important filmmaker. My inspiration for making "Once I Was" is the desire to explore the profound impact of Hal Ashby's body of work on modern cinema, and to understand this Hollywood insurgent.

The filmmakers have been working closely with Ashby's estate, capturing archival footage, audio recordings, and photographs. One of the donor perks is a selection of Jane Fonda's costumes from the heart-tugging war story "Coming Home."

Fonda, who recently picked up an AFI Life Achievement Award in Hollywood, told the LA Times that Ashby was one of her favorite directors to work with. The performance won Fonda her second Best Actress Oscar.

More on the film here. Watch the campaign trailer, and Ashby clips, after the jump.

This article is related to: Indiegogo , Crowdfunding, News, Video, Jane Fonda, Hal Ashby

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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.