New from Al and Linda Lerner on Movies and Shakers: Barefoot: The Mark Baumer Story

Mark Baumer was a fearlessly committed individual who decided to take off his shoes and walk across America to save the planet. Director Julie Sokolow uses Mark’s poems, selfie videos, and blogs to followers, friends and parents to create a detailed portrait of this inspiring, eccentric, vociferous, immensely talented individual. His style of communicating is quirky and highly entertaining. She has created a love letter to Mark that shows his joy in letting all know what he believed in, and why it’s so important.

Sokolow (Woman on Fire, Aspie Seeks Love) centers our understanding of Mark through  interviews with his parents. He was a precocious only child and you see him in a myriad of costumes and theater projects as he is growing up. 

He wrote poetry and met his girlfriend, Ada, at a poetry seminar at Brown University. They actually bought a house together. She sheds light on his talent and how he joined the fight to stop construction of natural gas pipelines. He became a vegan because of his belief that consuming animals was more harmful to the environment than automobiles. And he would let anyone who would listen know that they had to do something, anything, to help.

The walk started as a way to raise money for an organization called FANG, which stands for Fighting Against Natural Gas. Sokolow shows archive footage of Mark’s outrage when Trump became President in 2016 and what he was doing to dismantle President Barack Obama’s environmental policies, including pulling out of the Paris Accord. 

After reading a book called “Born to Run” you see Mark’s videos of himself on the walk railing against the appointment of EXXON CEO Rex Tillerson as the new Secretary of State.  And what really got Mark angry was Texas oilman, Rick Perry, being picked as Energy Secretary. The politics being put in play only strengthened Mark’s commitment to walking, writing and producing blogs showing his bruised, callused, and painful feet from walking on dirt and gravel. He posted daily foot photos to show the damage the chemicals and cold were doing to his soles. You see him being offered rides and food, turning them all down. That’s how motivated he was.

When it started snowing in Ohio, the nature lover relished seeing Mother Nature’s beautiful work, but the freezing temps were too hard on his feet and his psyche. Hurting and depressed, Mark took a bus to Florida so he could continue his mission. When newspaper stories started surfacing, he became famous for his feat. Sokolow shows how Mark liked the attention, not only for the cause, but maybe for making his own mark as well.

Unfortunately, he was hit and killed while walking on the side of a road in Florida. He died at 33. Although his mission was cut short, he raised $26,000 for FANG, and his parents continue fundraising and scholarship grants in his name. 

Unfortunately, he was hit and killed while walking on the side of a road in Florida. He died at 33. Although his mission was cut short, he raised $26,000 for FANG, and his parents continue fundraising and scholarship grants in his name. 

Sokolow uses his own words, videos, writings and drawings to make us aware of his dedication to the importance of combatting climate change. With so many hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and fires, the reasons for Mark’s walk is more relevant than ever. 

We may not want to walk barefoot hundreds of miles to help save the planet, but Director Sokolow shows how Marks impassioned, quixotic and at times very funny quest stands as an inspiration to us all.

Animal Studio    1 hour 27 minutes       Documentary 

Video on Demand

The post Barefoot: The Mark Baumer Story first appeared on Movies and Shakers.

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