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.