Jason Reitman honors dad Ivan at Ghostbusters screening: 'Laugh loud enough for him to hear it in heaven'

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A Ghostbusters screening under the stars turned into a brief Ivan Reitman memorial in Los Angeles on Saturday.

As the crowd settled on the lawn at the famed Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Jason Reitman was welcomed to a microphone to introduce his late father's 1984 comedy starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, and Rick Moranis. Jason kicked off his speech to the Cinespia crowd recounting how his father's parents escaped the Holocaust when Ivan was just a toddler, having to show a border patrolman that their child was circumcised to prove they were Jewish and eligible for exile. He then chronicled his dad's early love of storytelling, enjoying puppet shows while growing up in Canada before becoming a camp counselor — an experience that would inspire his 1979 breakout film Meatballs.

Then came Ghostbusters, Ivan's "greatest gift," according to his son. As he concluded his eulogy, Jason encouraged the crowd to get rowdy in honor of his father, who died in February at the age of 75: "I hope you laugh loud enough for him to hear it in heaven."

Jason Reitman and his father Ivan Reitman
Jason Reitman and his father Ivan Reitman

Theo Wargo/Getty Images Ivan Reitman and Jason Reitman at the premiere of 'Ghostbusters: Afterlife'

The audience was next treated to a video message from Aykroyd, whose liquor brand, Crystal Head Vodka, was sampled at the screening. The actor, who also co-wrote Ghostbusters with Ramis, said he was pleased to see the film "really does hold up," but it was also "something that we all were very proud of at the time. We didn't know what we had there. We didn't know whether it was gonna be a hit or not. We were just trying to make the best comedy we could. And it turned out beautifully for all, including you tonight, who get to watch the film based upon the writings of my great grandfather, Sam Aykroyd, who was a spiritualist and part of that great community. We believe in my family about the survival of consciousness after death — not only the survival of the spirit, but the consciousness of a person. This is my religion. So get a big fat dose of it tonight. Thank you so much."

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