Mike Hawley was born and raised in Vancouver, growing up in the shadow of the North Shore mountains, and spending his days hiking through the woods and canyons of Lynn Valley.
“Back then the first thing I learned to aim and shoot was a pellet gun,” Mike recalls. “However, in my family cameras were always close by, my father was a devoted home movie maker, he religiously carried both his still and video camera everywhere the family went. My mother thought it best for me to shoot with cameras instead of guns and it was not long after that the camera was also in my hands.”
Mike started filming more seriously in high school with his friends, leading to his enrolling at Vancouver Film School, where he started work as an assistant editor cutting negative 16mm and 35mm film.
“Shortly after I was editing for the computer animated television show Heavy Gear,” Mike recalls. “After a few years in front of the computer, alone in a dark room, I found myself longing to be behind the camera again. Grateful for what editing taught me about the language of film, I picked up the camera and began seeking out new projects. I quickly found work with various charities and organizations shooting, editing and producing both short and sometimes feature length documentaries. Through these projects I documented at-risk youth on the streets of Vancouver, traveled to Rwanda and Kenya to document stories on H.I.V prevention and Micro Credit business. I was fortunate enough to live with and document nomads living in the high altitude mountains of the Himalayas.”
Mike now works full time as a cinematographer, camera operator (I.A.T.S.E 669) and a stills photographer, working on documentaries, television commercials, television series and pilots, short films and web-based media.