Between 1970 and 1979, the films of Hal Ashby collected seven Academy Awards and 24 Academy Award nominations. He was a major player in the so called "New Hollywood" era of the '70s, and his strident rebelliousness in the face of the Hollywood studio system set the course for an utterly original body of work. But as that era came to a close, Ashby's star faded. The '80s were to usher in a corporate era of filmmaking, and Ashby's story became a cautionary tale. ONCE I WAS: The Hal Ashby Story is a feature length documentary film that will examine the life and work of director Hal Ashby within the changing landscape of American Cinema.