A hawk. A city. A love story.

(USA, 2010, 85 Minutes)

  NYC/NATIONAL PRESS & PUBLICITY                                                     THEATRICAL BOOKING


         Weiman Seid & Jenny Lawhorn                                                                          Greg Kendall

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The Legend of Pale Male is more than an extraordinary piece of New York history.  It documents the mysterious power possessed by a single red-tailed hawk to open the eyes and hearts of die-hard city dwellers to the wonders of nature. Join filmmaker Frederic Lilien, whom we meet as a young man from Belgium looking to change his life, on an eighteen-year journey through life, death, birth, hope, and redemption.


This is the true account of one of the most surprising and remarkable love stories in the history of New York.  It begins in 1993, when a young man from Belgium looking to change his life has an unexpected encounter in Central Park.  He meets a hawk.  Not just any hawk, but a wild Redtail, a fierce predator that has not lived in the City for almost a hundred years.  Compelled to follow this extraordinary creature, he buys a video camera and sets out to track the hawk.  Little does he know that the journey will take him almost twenty years and lead him down many trails of life, death, birth, hope, and redemption. 

Affectionately known to New Yorkers as Pale Male, the hawk becomes a magnificent obsession and a metaphor for triumph against all odds.  His nest, perched on a posh 5th Avenue co-op, starts out as a novel curiosity to a handful of avid birdwatchers but becomes an international tourist destination - a place of pilgrimage.

Then, on a December afternoon without warning, in the space of half an hour, the building dismantles Pale Male's beloved nest.  In a wingbeat, media from around the world assemble on 5th Avenue to cover the unprecedented protest.  Gathering behind Pale Male is an army of birdwatchers, movie stars, poets, children, dogs, and late night comedy show hosts.  What unfolds next, as they say, could only happen in New York. 


FREDERIC LILIEN, Producer/Director

At the age of 23,  Frederic Lilien leaves his native country of Belgium for New York City. His first film, “Pale Male” garnered 15 international awards and has aired in more than 75 countries.  His work has been featured in documentaries for HBO, Canal Plus, Turner Broadcasting, and PBS.  “The Legend of Pale Male” is his first feature film and is the culmination of 16 years of following New York’s love affair with one remarkable red-tailed hawk.

JANET HESS, Producer/Writer

Janet Hess is the Series Editor of NATURE, the premier natural history series from Thirteen/WNET for PBS.  She has written and produced some 20 documentary programs.  She collaborated with Frederic Lilien on his first film, the original “Pale Male,” for which she was awarded the 2004 Emmy Award for writing. 


Lenny Williams is a five-time national Emmy Award winning composer who has written original music for more than 600 documentary films.  He has been a pianist with the National Symphony Orchestra and the Kennedy Center Opera Orchestra. His recording career includes work on various gold and platinum records and two Grammy Award winning albums.

LARRY CURTIS, Associate Producer

When not ”looking up” at the world of Pale Male, he works in underwater cinematography specializing in whales and dolphins and issues of ocean conservation. He has worked on numerous, award winning documentaries for PBS/ Nature, National Geographic, Discovery Channel, feature films and art projects. He is currently filming and producing an immersive “full dome” theatre event on whales and dolphins. 

FRED KAUFMAN, Executive Producer

Fred Kaufman is the Emmy and Peabody award-winning executive producer of the PBS series, NATURE.  Since 1991, Kaufman has helmed over 250 of public television's most popular natural history programs including Deep Jungle, Dogs That Changed the World, AFRICA, Inside the Animal Mind and The Reptiles.  He is on the advisory board of the The Human Society of the United States Hollywood Division and is a member of the Director's Guild and Writer's Guild.  He began his career in the mailroom of Universal Studios.


    “Best of Festival”                                  

International Wildlife Film Festival    

“Best of Festival”

                   Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival                      

“Audience Favorite Award”

Santa Barbara International Film Festival 

“Audience Favorite Award”

Palm Beach International Film Festival 

“Best Script”

Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival

“Best Script”

Wildscreen - England


More than an extraordinary piece of New York history, The Legend of Pale Male documents the mysterious power possessed by a single red-tailed hawk to open the eyes and hearts of die-hard city dwellers to the wonders of nature.  For many New Yorkers, a simple encounter with something as wild and beautiful as Pale Male is nothing short of miraculous.  It’s an encounter with ope, with a renewed sense of possibility.  Something important happens in that moment.  The people he touches come back again and again to stand before the nest of this magnificent creature and be in his presence.    

For filmmaker Frederic Lilien, the project is an 18-year journey into how nature can transform the soul of a city.   He is the triumph of nature where we thought it couldn’t win.  He is the chance to experience what you cannot teach.  He inspires, and over the years becomes “the hawk that changes a thousand lives” affecting New Yorkers in ways they could never imagine.

But that is not all there is to the story, for his presence, while powerful, is also fragile.  In one shockingly selfish act, a handful of people try take it away from all those who treasure it.  The co-op board of his chosen building destroys his nest, shattering the annual ritual of the nesting season for all his followers.  Ultimately, what has been lost cannot be reclaimed – but that, too, is part of Pale Male’s message.  For we never fully know what we’ve lost ‘til it’s gone.  But this loss comes with a lesson that’s even more profound.  With or without us, nature will prevail.

The Legend is a testimony to the spirit of the greatest city in the world., a touching New York love story that is both fairy and fable but all completely true.