Day 27: David Hoffman on losing everything

Since the beginning of 2013 dozens of houses have been destroyed and hundreds evacuated from uncontrolled bushfires in Australia. One of the most recent programs I’ve heard about involves the collection of photographs of the victims by friends, neighbours, former schoolmates and work colleagues. For most, these trinkets that make up a life constitute one of the main losses following a housefire.   
David Hoffman is a collector. He keeps articles related to his films, photographs, letters and posters. Eight days before TED2008, his house burnt down and he lost everything, including 175 films and 16 milimeter negative.   
Hoffman looked at his belongings; a desk that took 40 odd years to fill, the only copy he had of a print from when his film, “King, Murray” won Cannes in 1970.  He wondered if ‘he’ was his ‘things.’ Then he remembered something he’d heard as a kid, “Make the best of a bad situation.”   In an attempt to make the best of a bad situation, he called his daughter and friends to start digging through the ashes in an attempt to piece together the bits of his life. His next project is going to be called, ‘Bits and Pieces.’   
Hoffman spoke at TED before this, in 2007, when he shared footage from his documentary, ‘Sputnik Mania.’ He was fully appreciative of this chance to speak with an audience in Monterey about his way of dealing with his loss. He was, as he should have been, extremely proud.  


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