Atlantic Filmmaker Focus: Allan Hawco

Newfoundland actor/producer/writer Allan Hawco

The Atlantic Film Festival is a champion of Atlantic Canadian filmmakers. In keeping with this promise, every month we profile some of the most incredibly talented people in the filmmaking industry today. This month, we look at actor/producer/writer Allan Hawco.

Most recognized from his lead role as ‘Jake Doyle’ on the CBC hit TV series, Republic of Doyle, Allan also served as the Co-Creator, Showrunner, Executive Producer, and Head Writer for the Gemini-nominated series. Recently, Allan worked with the CBC and the Atlantic Film Festival as host of the show REEL EAST COASTa primetime television series that showcases the highest quality selection of short films from Atlantic Canada. 

Featuring four episodes, REEL EAST COAST airs on CBC (Atlantic Region) on Friday nights, from June 12 - July 3 at 9 p.m. AST.


Allan Hawco

Where are you from? Originally Bell Island but grew up in the Gould’s Newfoundland.

Where do you currently reside? St. John’s Newfoundland.

Tell us something about Allan Hawco that is not commonly known. Hard to know what‘s known or not. But I’m getting a dog… 

What are you currently working on? Working on a number of things right now – with our Production Company in Newfoundland, Take the Shot productions.

Hawco on Acting

What got you first interested in acting? I think I have always liked pretending to be other people in other situations. As a kid – (even though in retrospect my childhood was quite unique and exciting in relative terms for a young kid) – I always felt it was very ordinary and I was always day dreaming that something radical would happen and my ordinary life would implode. Acting is just that –  often it’s about pretending to be extraordinary people. 
When did you first decide that acting would be a career for you? Pretty early on I think.
You’ve performed ‘on stage’ and in front of the camera for both television and film. Do you have a preference? Not really. It’s all about the part and the integrity of the material. Other things play a part in my choosing what I’ll do as well. But good material wins out.
What, in your opinion, makes for a good role? Haha. Hard question to answer like this. It’s usually not about the part for me, it’s often about how good the material is overall. How good the director is. The team. If I trust them. If I like what the film is going for. If I know I’ll be in the hands of a person/team with a strong creative drive and passion and someone who know’s what they’re doing.
Is there anyone you would really like to work with, that you haven’t yet? That list is too long to name as it keeps changing every time I see something with actors/writers and directors that inspire me.
What advice would you give to an aspiring actor? If you can do something else, anything else and imagine you’d be happy with out being an actor? Do that thing. If not – then, do everything you can to get there. But remember, no one will do it for you. It’s a rough road filled with heart break and unbelievable satisfaction at the same time.

About Republic of Doyle

How did your Gemini-nominated television series, Republic of Doyle come about? It was an idea I had as a kid and it was just that: An idea, until I started working with Perry Chafe. Then later, Malcolm McRury, Vatcher and Blackie. Then it became something real with the help of so many more.
When did you realize the show was a hit? Well, I was happy people were watching and always will be.
You were the lead role as ‘Jake Doyle’ but also served as the Co-Creator, Showrunner, Executive Producer, and Head Writer.  How difficult was it to say good-bye to the role and the show? It was hard, very hard. But I honestly felt that we had made the right call to move on. The time was right.

You’re the host of Reel East Coast presented by the Atlantic Film Festival. How did you get involved? Please share some thoughts on the program. Anything we can do to help cultivate the younger talent out there - I feel we have a responsibility to do that.
How important is it to you to produce television and film in Newfoundland and Atlantic Canada? It’s important to me in many ways. Too many to name here.
Do you have a favourite film in the program? Haha! I can’t single any one out!

On the Atlantic Film Festival

This year marks the 35th anniversary of the Atlantic Film Festival. What does the Atlantic Film Festival mean to you? We’re very fortunate to have a festival that can help promote and celebrate not only the best in local talent in this region of the country, but also from around the world. 

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us Allan. You are a true talent and ambassador of the television and film industry in Atlantic Canada. We're very proud to have you as the host of  REEL EAST COAST!

Watch previous episodes of REEL EAST COAST HERE or visit