When Frederic Lilen ran away from home to avoid the family law business, becoming the cinematic chronicler of Pale Male,
New York City’s most famous red-tailed hawk, wasn’t even on his radar. In fact, he’d never even heard of the bird and his loyal following until after a serendipitous lunch meeting. He was taking a break in Central Park from the job he hated. On a branch over Lilien’s head, Pale Male was downing a pigeon. In short order, Lilien was hooked on both the raptor and on the community that watched him. The resulting film, his first, PALE MALE, was a great success, but, as he explained during our talk on December 8, 2010, it was hardly the end of Pale Male’s story. From a public outcry that overruled a co-op board’s ruling, to the personal relationships that evolved, both human and avian, Lilien’s follow-up documentary continues the story of a remarkable bird, and the hold he has on the public imagination.