SXSW 2018: The World Before Your Feet

Matt Green walking in Queens, New York City. Photo Credit: Michael Berman.

There’s been a lot of films that took place in New York City but The World Before Your Feet may just be the most unique as it follows Matt Green on his walk across every block of the city.

Matt Green may be crazy.  He quit his job as a civil engineer to walk across America from Rockaway Beach, N.Y., to Rockaway Beach, Ore. in 2010.  A few years later, he’s at it again and walking across the five boroughs of New York City (Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island).  He’s not doing it for any kind of fundraiser as someone might do for this sort of thing.  He’s doing it because he can, I suppose.  Thanks to the kind hearts of his friends, Green has somewhere to stay every night.  Whether it’s for a night or a few weeks, he always has a place to stay.

As Green walks across the city, it reminds me of the old Ferris Bueller’s old saying from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1985):  “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.”  He certainly stops and looks around.  As part of his project, he takes photos and updates people on the history of the sites he walks by.  These could be barber shops, cemeteries, 9/11 memorials, the Eric Garner memorial, the theater where Malcolm X was shot and killed, etc.  The list goes on and on.

Documentary filmmaker Jeremy Workman, who directs the film, was able to follow Green’s journey for over the course of three years and this led to some 500-plus hours of footage.  If that’s not enough, he also produced, edited, and served as the cinematographer.  Workman’s footage was cut down to just over 90 minutes–which is understandable because it took Green a good five years to across New York City.  If Workman only followed him for three years, who knows what blocks of the city didn’t even get filmed.

Actor Jesse Eisenberg helped to executive produce the film, giving him his first credit as any type of producer on a film.

The city makes for a wonderful backdrop and this isn’t denied in the cinematographer.  At one point at a cemetery, the camera pulls back to reveal a nice backdrop of the Manhattan skyline.

Through Matt Green’s journey, The World Before Your Feet introduces viewers to just a few of the many people that inhabit New York City.  What Green ultimately does, as one interviewee describes it, is show us the “heart, soul, and pulse” of New York City.

DIRECTOR:  Jeremy Workman
FEATURING:  Matt Green

An official selection of the 2018 SXSW Film Festival, The World Before Your Feet premiered as a part of the Documentary Feature Competition.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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