With the death of Crawford Hawkins on June 25th, Canada has just lost an immensely influential figure, who contributed immeasurably to British Columbia’s film and television production over the past four decades.
Born in Brooklyn in 1933, Hawkins joined the U.S. Marine Corps at a young age, before entering the entertainment industry after the Korean War, in which he fought.
Although Hawkins was the head of the Vancouver branch of the Director’s Guild of Canada (DGC), according to IMDB he only has one directing credit to his name, which was for an episode of Neon Rider back in 1994. Hawkins was far more accomplished as an editor and producer.
In fact, it was in the editing room where he got his first big break, getting him out of the mailroom in which he started. From there, Hawkins spent several years in Hollywood, working for film giants like 20th Century Fox, Hallmark and The Jim Henson Company.
Hawkins’ first opportunity as a producer, a 1979 Western called Up River, brought him to B.C., and there began his decades-long contributions to the province’s film industry, and indeed the Canadian film industry as a whole.
During his time in B.C., Hawkins served as a producer on many notable projects, including Tucker & Dale vs. Evil and 25 episodes of The X-Files, the latter of which even earned him an Emmy Award. Needless to say Hawkins certainly knew his way around a set, serving as a production manager on numerous films shot in Canada over the years, with Christopher Nolan’s Insomnia from 2002 being the most notable among them.
Even beyond the realm of production, Hawkins’ achievements are substantial. In addition to being the head of Vancouver’s DGC from 2002-2016, he was also a founding and longstanding board member of the Motion Picture Production Industry Association of BC (MPPIA) since 2002.
The DGC press release on Hawkins’ death notes that he was “a true industry builder well known for his part in establishing the collaborative, progressive and community minded practices that distinguish BC’s production industry today.” They no doubt reference, in part, his integral role in shaping policy-making between the film industry and the Canadian government, while using his significant connections in the U.S. film industry to draw productions into B.C.
Crawford Hawkins’ storied career has led the likes of DGC B.C. Chair Allan Harmon to lament “He leaves a massive hole in B.C.’s film and television industry,” while MPPIA Chair Peter Leitch strikes a more positive note, saying “We can all aspire to the kind of contribution made by Crawford Hawkins.”