Sunday, December 7, 2008

Changing The World, One Phile At A Time...

On a sunny and warm December Saturday in Los Angeles, dozens of X-Files fans from all around the world gathered at the Regency Fairfax Theatre for a charity screening of both films and Q&A with writer/producer Frank Spotnitz. The event was put together completely by four very special Los Angeles fans-- Patricia Steffy, Caileigh Scott, Liz Rodriguez, and Karen Mendez-- who worked for weeks to make sure everything went off without a hitch... and then they donated one hundred percent of the proceeds to Neurofibromatosis, Inc-- not bad for people who actually have day jobs! In fact, their generosity and tenacity was what made Spotnitz sit up, take notice, and ultimately sign on to appear: "It makes me feel a great sense of responsibility-- how many people have invested such a great amount of time, energy, and money into this-- and the fact that they're not doing it for themselves but for another cause... it's really very nice and very moving." Though he noted the event would have gone on with or without his involvement, he said that when he was approached to be a part of it, there was no way he could say no. He had a very special message for his fans here:

Before the event, Spotnitz took the time to pose with some very deserving fans who had flown from all over to attend, from D.C. to Ohio-- two women even came in all the way from England for the chance to hear him speak and to see Fight The Future on the big screen again for the first time in ten years-- and he also signed his autograph onto items that fans graciously donated for the cause, like the new X Files book, a complete set of the trading cards, I Want To Believe posters and comic books. These, in addition to some autographed photos that Gillian Anderson donated, will all be auctioned off online through January, with one hundred percent of the proceeds still going to Neurofibromatosis, Inc.

The event kicked off with a very moving speech given by Beverly Oberlander, a NF survivor and member of the NF, Inc board. She spoke about what life is like for people with NF, what is being done to find a cure, and what it means to her to have so many people turn out to fight with her. Then moderator Erin Fox (TV Guide) introduced Spotnitz for a forty minute Q&A where the fans got to ask everything that was left lingering in their minds since the end of the series and the release of the last motion picture. Many wanted to know if there would be a third film (he would love that), and even more were itching to find out about the deleted kiss scene between Duchovny and Anderson and if there were any additional takes (there are!). Spotnitz answered everything from "What turns Mulder and Scully on?" from moderator Fox, who played a little "Inside The X-Files Studio" game, to how it felt to write for a show for years before finally getting a shot in the director's seat, to who he thinks fell in love first-- Mulder or Scully, to what some shows were that he was as big a fan of as the Philes that were sitting in the theater were of his show.

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The event concluded with the screening of some fan videos, special messages from Philes who couldn't be there, and then the two films back to back. Spotnitz and Fox, an admitted diehard fan who flew out from NY on her own dime to help be apart of the event because she believes so much in the show, in Spotnitz, and in what these women were doing, stayed around to watch the films... or perhaps more poignantly, watch the fans' reactions to the films.

The power of the internet never ceases to amaze me, and watching the day play out, where all of these fans from all over the world, who had previously chatted through message boards and Facebook, and perhaps even met at the I Want To Believe premiere over the summer, actually got to sit in one room together and share a unique and worthwhile experience was awe-inspiring. Inspired By Gillian has so far raised close to $5000 from the event alone and is looking forward to seeing what the auction, as well as the DVDs of the Q&A, will bring in, too. This event seems to be proof that when strong individuals with a common interest band together, they can make anything happen.

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