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Daniel Craft, NY Asian Film Fest Organizer and Avid ‘Star Trek’ Fan, Has Passed Away

Daniel Craft
Paramount

Even if you don’t know his name, chances are strong that you’ve heard the story of Daniel Craft. You probably know his name because he was the ‘Star Trek’ fan who was granted his final wish of seeing ‘Star Trek Into Darkness‘ after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, but he was also a member of New York’s Subway Cinema and helped organize the city’s increasingly popular Asian Film Festival. Last night, he passed away.

His death was announced on the New York Asian Film Festival’s Facebook page with the following message:

“Last night around 10:15pm, Dan Craft, who has been a member of Subway Cinema since 2004, passed away. His wife and brother were with him when he went, and he wasn’t in any pain. He’d been a bit loopy for a few days as his liver failed and toxins built up in his blood, and on Thursday his wife asked him if he needed to go to the bathroom. “I’m going…” he proclaimed, “Into the future.”

See you there, Dan.

Dan Craft: 1971 – 2013

We miss you.”

As sad as his final moments must have been for his friends and family, his final words certainly reflect his Trekkie nature. Boundless optimism in the face of the unknown has always been a signature theme of the ‘Star Trek’ universe, after all.

Earlier this morning, a friend of Dan’s took to Reddit to thank everyone who helped spread the news of his story. After all, this began as a simple post from his wife, but with Reddit’s help, it soon spiraled into a massive internet campaign. Here’s an excerpt from the post, complete with the details of how Dan’s screening of the latest ‘Star Trek’ adventure went over:

“A day or so after the thread began, Paige, Dan’s wife, got a voicemail from JJ Abrams and Damon Lindelof that was very nice and very straightforward: a producer for the movie would get in touch with them. The next day, one of the film’s producers showed up at the door of their apartment with a DVD containing a very rough cut of Star Trek: Into Darkness in his hands. Paige had made popcorn, Dan had spent the previous day resting so he could sit through the movie, and after signing about 200 non-disclosure agreements they watched the film and had a blast.

Afterwards, Dan got back into bed, exhausted, and didn’t get out again. Yesterday he was pretty non-responsive and Paige took him to the hospital for hospice care. Last night, at 10:15pm, with Paige and his brother in his room, Dan died. The last thing he got to do that gave him pleasure was watch the new Star Trek movie. And it’s because of you.

At a time when he didn’t have a whole lot to look forward to, r/StarTrek, JJ Abrams, Damon Lindelof, and Bad Robot performed a simple act of kindness for a total stranger and gave Dan something to be excited about for a couple of days. The movie did exactly what movies are supposed to do, it helped him forget about his problems for a couple of hours. It doesn’t sound like much, but in this case it was.”

This is a difficult story to write about without getting sappy, sacharine or insensitive, but to those of us who didn’t know him, Dan now stands as a symbol of the power of film. Here’s a man who spent his days helping to cultivate one of the best film festivals in the country and when the end was near, he took solace in cinema. “Dying Man Gets to See New ‘Star Trek’ Movie” is flashy headline, but this story is a powerful reminder of why we love cinema. Movies are capable of transporting us to new worlds, of helping us forget our pain for two hours — it’s comforting to know that a real movie fan was able to embrace what he loved until the very end.

Rest in peace, Mr. Craft.

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