The Barefoot Activist

The fight against climate change has produced some unlikely heroes: a former Vice President starring in an Oscar-winning documentary, a teenage Swede addressing the United Nations, and a barefoot traveler becoming a martyr to the cause.

That last point is hardly a spoiler to Julie Sokolow’s new documentary, Barefoot: The Mark Baumer Story, since the film’s sad conclusion will be foregone to most anyone who’s drawn to watch it.

Barefoot: The Mark Baumer Story

Baumer, to draw attention to and raise money against climate change, began his barefoot walk across America from Providence, RI, a few weeks before the 2016 Presidential election. Why barefoot? Another activist in the film says it has to do with “taking your shoes off and feeling Mother Earth.” But concrete highways are hardly touching the soil, and after Baumer’s bare feet endure the salt and other chemicals sprayed on a Pennsylvania road following an early January snowstorm, he buses down to Florida to begin anew.

The film contains a fair share of foreshadowing, such as the URL of Baumer’s blog – NotGoingToMakeIt.com – and Baumer’s own words, as heard in the trailer above: “If I die on this trip, it’s not going to be because I didn’t wear shoes, it’s going to be because an automobile kills me.”

On the 100th day of Baumer’s walk, the same day as Donald Trump’s inauguration, the prolific social media presence (Baumer, not Trump) posted his last video, an angry one containing his final words, “Your ignorance is killing people,” and his last photo, with his bare feet in front of the word “Killed” painted on the ground.

The following day, Mark Baumer would be killed by an SUV.

Barefoot: The Mark Baumer Story, much of which is told through Baumer’s own videos, is a work of admiration and honor by fellow filmmaker Sokolow. It debuted yesterday for $7.99 from Google Play and for Amazon Prime subscribers. Or get it for $9.99 from iTunes, Amazon or Microsoft.

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About Les Luchter

Les Luchter is a former managing editor of Multichannel News, editor-in-chief of Cable Marketing, and news editor of Broadcast Week.

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