“Marino’s unflagging enthusiasm is infectious”
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Gary Marino

Jun 222009

By Dr. Howard Rankin

Earlier this year, Gen Excel Founder Gary Marino and I joined forces to kick off a unique community wellness initiative in Hilton Head, South Carolina called “Inspiring
Wellness” The nine week program offers behavioral, nutritional and exercise components and is free to the public.

There were hundreds of people for the initial event at the First Presbyterian Church on Hilton Head where Gary provided inspiration and advice before being celebrated at a post event reception. Three days later Gary, myself and others led a beach walk for nearly 70
people who braved unseasonably frigid temperatures to participate. Gary returned to Hilton Head on Week 5 to join me for the “stress” seminar as well.

Inspiring Wellness Team Member Jen Wright, a wellness and occupational health coordinator from Hilton Head Hospital, had this to say about the campaign to date: “It’s been amazing to see is how the community has pulled together surrounding health and wellness with this
program. To see the crowds show up week after week tells us that they are concerned about their health and their neighbor’s health.”

Visit the official website at www.inspiringwellness.org

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Apr 022009

After premiering at the Jacksonville, Long Island and Northampton Film Festivals among others in 2008, Million Calorie March: The Movie had its long awaited premiere in South Carolina this past January to an audience of over 600 people.

“It was an amazing night and I’m thrilled to bring the film’s inspiring message of hope to this area,” said Director/Producer Gary Marino, who enjoyed reconnecting with many people he met on the original Florida to Boston walk.

On April 18th “Million Calorie March” will also have its Texas premiere at the 15th Annual Galveston Health Fair on Galveston Island for the University Of Texas. From there the film will screen at the prestigious Palm Beach Film Festival April 23-27th.

Locally in Massachusetts, the movie recently screened at the Annual S.O.P.H.E. conference (Society For Public Health Education) hosted by the American Cancer Society.

Producer’s representative Laura Yellen and attorney Elaine Rogers, of Fish and Richardson, are currently fielding offers for TV and home DVD distribution.

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Feb 222009

By Todd G. Patkin
Picture 8

This past November I joined Gary Marino and Dr. Howard Rankin (who played a major role in the Million Calorie March film) on a trip to the City of Brotherly Love to accept our “Freddie” award in the “Diet & Nutrition Category”. As you may know already, Gary and I both received our very own Freddies for producing “Million Calorie March: The Movie”.

Boy was I shocked at how coveted, recognized and admired the Freddie Awards are within the medical film industry. Bill Gates, Magic Johnson, the late ABC Anchor Peter Jennings are all past winners. We were winners along with productions from HBO, NBC and Discovery Health Channel – and U2’s Bono even congratulated all of the 2008 award winners via video!

Because the movie was a labor of love (much more labor I must admit for Gary and his team), we had no idea how difficult it is to actually win one of these – or that we would be up against some of the most talented filmmakers from all over the world! In fact, at cocktail
parties and receptions we spoke to several winners who said it was their professional life’s ambition to win a Freddie Award. Some had submitted 4 to 6 films over 10– 20 years to finally win. Many judges approached us and told us that our film was the clear winner among the
competition and had such “soul”….which made us feel great.

As for the awards ceremony itself (which took place at Philadelphia’s elegant Crystal Tea Room), it was essentially the Oscars of medical and health awards and we were one of the last awards of the night. At the podium to accept the award, Gary of course, pulled out some of his jokes about Philly Cheese Steak – but then got serious and dedicated his trophy to his late mother Lorraine “Rainbow” Marino. “You can thank your tuxedo maker or make it a moment” said Gary. “I decided to make it a moment and thank our film production team as well as my mom”.

Congratulations to all involved in this amazing movie on the FREDDIE AWARD!!!!!!

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Oct 012008

Appeared originally in The Boston Globe Wednesday, October 1, 2008

bg10-1-08Gary Marino, the 40-year-old Woburn man who walked from Florida to Boston to call attention to obesity, has won a Freddie Award for his documentary, “The Million Calorie March”. He’ll get his prize at the International Health and Medical Media Awards in Philadelphia on Nov. 14. “It’s really cool to turn something negative around and make it positive,” said Marino, who’s lost 150 pounds. He’s guessing Philly cheese steak won’t be on the menu at the gala.

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Sep 142007

Taken from the original article in the Jewish Advocate,Sept. 14, 2007, written by Rachael L. Axelbank

Local philanthropist, Todd Patkin has added obesity to his list of chosen causes. Patkin, who is also accociated with the Jewish National Fund and Yemn Orde Youth Village in Israel, will see his efforts in the arena of weight loss for health manifest themselves on the big screen next week.

“Million Calorie March, The Movie” is a docudrama that purports to “pick up where ‘Super Size Me’ left off,” focusing on Bay Stater Gary Marino’s efforts to triumph over obesity. Footage from the Million Calorie March -Marino’s highly publicized 2004 walk from Florida to Boston- is interspersed with recreated scenes from his book, “Big and Tall Chronicles”, and with documentation of his experience of dropping from 397 pounds to 240 pounds in four years. Patkin helped to finance both the walk and the film.

The two first met some five years ago, in a professional capacity. Marino, who describes his then-self as “one Super Bowl part away from 400 pounds,” owned a production company that handles the motivational meetings Patkin held for his employees.

“I never really noticed his weight, because in auto parts we had a lot of really big guys,” said Patkin, who retired to a life of philanthropy after building up and selling the family auto parts business.
“Then one day he said to me, ‘I don’t know if you noticed, but I lost a lot of weight.’ He wanted to bring his message to America that you can lose weight and can lose it naturally and you can regain your life.”

This mission struck a hord with Patkin, whose web siteliststhecauses of Todd G. Patkin Charitable Endeavors not as “causses” but as “dreams”.

I knew Todd got behind interestign things and different theings, ” Marino said. ” I approached him as a philanthropist.”

Patkin promised Marino that they would raise the money needed to carry out the Million Calorie March and that he would contribute whaevercouldin’t b reaised.

According to Marino, the walk, from Jacksonville Fla, to Wellesley between April 5 and July 15, was a two-third’s success. As both a launch event for Generation Excel, the non-profit Marino founded to educate about and fight obesity, and a way to raise awareness of obesity, the walk was -in Marino’s words- “a home run”.

“But from a fundraising standpoint, it didn’t go as we hoped- we didn’t have any money to do the film,” he said. “Still, my first priority was to just get the foundation on its feet. It wasn’t a big deal to me. But Todd said, ‘No-it’s a big deal to me. We can contribute to this by producing a real, first-of-its-kind movie.'”

Patkin said:”People come to me, and I try to give them the money so that they can have an opportunity to live their dream. Gary had a dream, and we put it into action.” I said, ‘Look where you are. Why aren’t we telling this story?'”

“Mullion Calorie March: The Movie” will debut at the AMC Boston Common Theatre on September 18 as part of the Boston Film Festival.

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Aug 232007

Marino’s campaign against obesity will hit the big screen

by Erin Cahill

Woburn- Woburn resident Gary Marino walked across 12 states in 80 days for the “Million Calorie March” back n 2004 and now, hie, continuing his campaign to raise awareness and put an end to the obesity problem in America.

The movie is a documentary about Marino’s no-profit organization”Generation Excel” which is dedicated to the problem of childhood obesity.

It recreates 10 scenes from Marino’s book “the Big & Tall Chronicles;: Misadventures of a Lifelong Food Addict” which is based on Mario’s personal experiences with obesity and wight loss.

Before starting his battle against obesity Mario used to wiegh 397 pounds. From wight loss pills to prepackaged foods, he had tried every quick-fix diet plan out there but to no avail.

Finally, Marino decide to get serious and try a different approach. He said, “essentially I decided to fix what was broken.”

He hired a dietician/nutritionist, a therapist specializing in weight disorders and addictions, and a personal trainer. After some hard work and dedication, Marino lost 150 pounds. He was then inspired to help others who were struggling with obesity.

He formed a non-profit organization called “Generation Excel” a positive spin on “generation XL” and organized the “Million Calorie March” to raise awareness.

A walking example of the growing problem of obesity in America, Marino stared his march in Jacksonville, Fla., and walked across 12 states, 1,200 miles, back to Boston. Along the way, we visited weight loss groups, wellness centers and schools.

“In the process of losing 150 pounds myself, I learned a lot about obesity in America and what causes it,” he explained.

Since his cross-country walk in 2004, Marino has not stopped marching. He continues to promote obesity awareness an prevention and tackles the problem’s weighing issues in his new film.

According to Marino, the movie “Million Calorie March” picks up where “Super-Size Me” left off. It discusses the roles of food addiction, portion sizes, depression and childhood obesity.

As stated on his website, Mario’s goal is to encourage the public “to laugh at the insanity of the wight-loss industry, look in the mirror, get serious and dig deep to fix ourselves.”

“Million Calorie March” will premier at the Boston Film Festival on Sept. 14-21 at the AMC Loews Boston Common theater.

Marino plans to submit the documentary to 30 films festivals around the country. “We’re hoping to sign it to a distributor or a studio, for more wide-spread distribution, ” he explained.

he also plans to screen the film in health centers and has already shown it to Peoplefit Health and Fitness Center on Lexington street in Woburn.

As noted on this website, Marion explains that after winning his personal battle against, obesity, “I have found that life is truly sweeter the second time around.”

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May 022007

From Foster’s Daily by Jennifer Keefe, Democrat staff writer

Somersworth: Gary Marino calls himself “the typical guy next door” but his accomplishments and the intent behind them over the last few years make him anything but ordinary.

Weighing in at about 397 pounds in 2001, Marino, now in his early 40s, decided it was time to take action and lose wight. Six ears later, he has lost nearly 200 pounds and has decided to share his story with the world in a documentary film called “The Million Calorie March”.

The movie, which will premiere this week at The Works Family Health and Fitness Center, chronicles Marino’s struggles and successes in his weight-loss process and is based largely on April to mid-July 2004 when his set out to walk from Jacksonville, Fla., back to his hometown of Boston, MA. The 1,205-mile walk, on which he was accompanied by a three-person team and sometimes up to 200 others who joined on the way out of interest, led him to not only lose more than 40 pounds, but brought awareness to the world about what he was doing and why he was doing it.

Marino said he is no stranger to how eating habit as a child can shape your eating habits as an adult. Aside from a desire to lose wight, Marino’s walk and his cause became more about reaching out and educating parents, children and the world about healthfulness and eating right.

“Kids really need a healthy home life, ” Marino said. “Home is really ground zero. I wanted to reach out to parents and educate them.”

On his way up the East Coast, Marino and his team stopped at many schools and held programs teaching about food, portion sized and eating right. While many school in the country, including Hilltop Elementary and the High School, have recently brought in healthier foods for school lunches and are making healthy eating a greater focus for the students, Marino said it all really goes back to the home.

“Kids, in a way, are victims of their environment,” he said.

There is a slow but sure hange in the world regarding health and food awareness, and Marino said the movie “Super-Size Me, a documentary realeased in 2004 in which film writer and star Morgan Spurlock ate only fast food for 30 days to see what that diet would do to him, may have started the awareness process. Marino’s movie, however, set him apart from what Spurlock was trying to do, Marino said.

“That was a good film and it makes a good contribution, “he said. “But it was kind of a gimmick. Mine’s a real film with a real personal story.”

Marino’s documentary re-creates scenes througout his child hood of encounters with unhealthy eating and struggles with weight during his life. The footage from the walk was taken during the actual event- Marion said his hardest task was cutting down 40 hours of walking foodtage to include in a 90-minute film- and Marino said everything in the movie “got across what I was trying to do. I lived it. It’s my story.”

And his personal story is one others with simlar struggles acan relate to, including Kay Vasile, aquatics program manager at The Works. Vasile said she lost 105 punds and can identify with Marino that the process is not always easy.

The exercise part wasn’t hard,” she said. “Changing my eating habits was. It’s a whole different mindset.”

Marino said while making an interesting film about obesity was difficult as people don’t normallly put that topic high on a list of movies to watch, he hopes he was able to make it successful by giving it a humorous undercurrent.

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Nov 282005

(Original article appeared in Imagine News magazine’s Development in 2005)
by Carl Hansen

big&tall-bookGary Marino has a big story to tell, literally. In 2001, he was 37, 5’9”, and weighed 397 pounds. Depressed with his condition for most of his life, he only saw his weight as something negative. But then he decided to turn a negative into a positive and do something about his health; he planned to take his morbidly obese body on the road with a 1,200-mile walk from Jacksonville, Florida to Boston, Massachusetts. He would call it the Million Calorie March.

Marino started shooting video of his training and put together a fundraising video to show potential investors who might be interested in sponsoring the walk. “We got such a positive reaction from people who saw the video,” Marino says, that it inspired him to document his progress and take a camera on the road with him. “I knew if I did the walk, that it would make a great film.”

Though this didn’t start out as a filmmaking adventure. This was a personal journey to bring awareness to a problem that affects a majority of the U.S. population. Sixty-five percent of Americans are overweight and the numbers are increasing. “I didn’t do the walk to lose weight,” admits Marino, “it was an awareness campaign.”

But then September 11, 2001 hit. And the walk, which was scheduled to begin in January 2002 was put on hold. But Marino didn’t stop his training or rolling tape on his weight-loss progress. By the time the walk finally kicked-off in June March 2004, he had shed 130 pounds by eating right and exercising. His words of wisdom: “The old-fashioned way still works.”

Before the walk began, Marino placed an ad on Craigslist.com, an online bulletin board of everything and anything, searching for a cameraman to go on the road with him. Dan Jones, a recent graduate of Hunter’s College in Manhattan, was so eager that he traveled all the way to Boston to meet Marino. Jones made such an impression on Marino that he was hired as Cameraman/Cook. The road team was so small that each member had to wear multiple hats.

Marino weighed-in on national television on “Live with Regis and Kelly to start his walk. Each day was scheduled and planned to accommodate morning radio interviews and roughly twenty miles of walking while also talking on his cell phone to local press and planning upcoming events. Marino would sometimes stop and speak at schools or other venues along the way to promote his campaign and inspire people to maintain their health and lose weight. Evenings were often filled with motivational speeches and special appearances in the towns where Marino walked. All this while editing his upcoming book and writing daily logs for his website and his sponsors. The Million Calorie March message reached an estimated 70 million people, including stories on Fox News and in People Magazine and USA Today.

When all was walked and done, Marino had lost an additional 45 pounds, and had almost as many hours of video footage to pore through. “I was not hell bent on making the next SUPER SIZE ME,” Marino says of the obvious comparisons to Morgan Spurlock’s Oscar-nominated documentary from 2004. The MILLION CALORIE MARCH film will do more than just identify the problem of obesity, it will show what someone can do to combat it.

“The true harsh reality,” says Marino, is that “it’s a struggle the whole way.” In America we’re always looking for the quick fix, but it’s not easy to lose weight. He hopes that the film will show how much good eating right and exercising can do and perhaps help others be more compassionate to people who are obese.

While the editing process has just begun on the film, Gary Marino is far from finished with his new role as role model. He started a non-profit organization, Generation Excel, to help children and adults make healthy food decisions and promote physical fitness. There is a sponsored Father’s Day walk planned around the Charles River in June and his book, “Big & Tall Chronicles: Misadventures of a Lifelong Food Addict,” is scheduled to hit the shelves at Barnes & Noble in March.

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