Last weekend, as 1,166 fans bought tickets, selling out four of the six shows (there was one seat left for Pirate Radio), those of us who were behind the popcorn machines and box office windows had the honor of meeting a group of people who dearly love Philip Seymour Hoffman.
These folks bundled up on three bleak days in February and March to fill our theaters. They had to swallow a little harder when Jack Garner read a message from Marilyn, Philip’s mother, when Alexa Scott-Flaherty talked about a dear personal friend, and when Erich Van Dussen spoke of a man whose hand few of us shook, but we all felt we knew.
These were the neighbors who sent in hundreds of suggestions for films and tweeted that Philip became his characters, that he lent humanity to roles that possessed none, and that he was fearless. They came to film after film; then they asked for more.
When they heard the news that Philip had passed away, these were the people who felt compelled to do something. They felt they must come together, celebrate, and mourn. They felt as if one of them passed, because one of them did.
You are these people. And we at The Little are so grateful for making the tribute series a success. By buying tickets, you contributed thousands of dollars to a new award – the Hoffman Award – for the Rochester Teen Film Festival, a collaborative, juried media competition for youth in the Rochester region hosted by Nazareth College, WXXI and The Little.
We like to think that “home” is where people celebrate your triumphs and honor your memory. Well, it looks like last weekend, Philip came home. During the series, we set out a book for people to sign, which we will send to Philip’s family. One person wrote something that condenses the overall feeling of last weekend in a handful of words:
“Your roles mean so much to me, and make me feel like I can love myself.”
Thank you all again, so much.