Jeremy Workman’s ‘World’ comes to DVD
With the 2019 RiverRun International in full swing, one of the most popular films at last year’s festival has coincidentally made its DVD debut via Kino Lorber.
Jeremy Workman’s documentary The World Before Your Feet chronicles the six-year odyssey of New Yorker Matt Green to walk every foot of New York City – a grand total of 8,000 miles. He walked sidewalks, side streets, back streets, alleys, cemeteries, and more. It took six years and could be described as one man’s journey except, of course, Workman was with him every step of the way, filming Green’s trek in weather that ranged from good to bad to ugly, gaining a first-hand immersion into the cultural diversity and history of New York City that proved an eye-opener even for them.
The DVD ($29.95 retail) includes deleted scenes, an interview with executive producer Jesse Eisenberg, the original trailer, and the SXSW Q&A that followed its world premiere.
When Workman and Green brought the film to RiverRun last year, it had particularly special meaning for Workman, whose filmmaker father, Chuck Workman (an Oscar winner for the 1986 documentary short Precious Images) was given the Master of Cinema award.
“For the last year, we have been taking The World Before Your Feet to movie theaters across America – both as part of its initial film-festival run and its broader theatrical release,” Workman said. “It’s been a really incredible and rewarding experience, and we have enjoyed some amazing success. In fact, a year since we played at RiverRun last April, the film is still in movie theaters in some cities, and even with the DVD coming out – and the film’s also available on iTunes and VOD – the film continues to attract large audiences in theaters.”
“We had the pleasure of showing The World Before Your Feet to three sold-out houses at the 2018 RiverRun festival, and I’m not surprised at the favorable reception it’s received at other festivals and in its theatrical run,” said Rob Davis, RiverRun’s executive director.
“When working at a festival and you get a submission from Jeremy Workman, it’s one of those films you can’t wait to see because you know there is an inherent level of excellence in its quality and in its story,” Davis said. “I’ve known Jeremy since my days at the Fort Lauderdale Film Festival, and I’m proud to call him a film colleague.
“During my first RiverRun, I invited Jeremy to be a judge at our ‘Pitch Fest’ competition for student documentary filmmakers,” he recounted. “His feedback was constructive and useful and his questions insightful. Jeremy’s dad is an Academy Award-winning filmmaker we’ve also hosted at RiverRun. Creativity obviously runs in the family, and to quote an old cliché, Jeremy is truly an example of the apple not falling far from the tree.”
“Here’s a bit of a breakdown: We played at nearly 30 festivals across the country, leading up to our theatrical release in the fall,” Workman said. “After releasing in theaters in New York and Los Angeles last Thanksgiving, we have now since played in 70 additional cities in the United States and Canada. In New York City, as many suspected, we enjoyed great success. New Yorkers obviously connected with this unique look at their own city. We opened at New York’s Quad Cinema on Thanksgiving and played there for eight straight weeks, breaking box-office records in the process, (and) at one point the local nightly news in New York City featured a segment about the film’s constant sell-out crowds.”
The “hometown” reception might have been expected, but, Workman said, “more surprising was how well the film connected outside of New York. We were never certain that this would be the case. Many people first thought that The World Before Your Feet would just be a ‘New York movie,’ which was always a bit of a hurdle when we first premiered the film. Many just thought it would be a niche movie for New Yorkers.
“However, we soon learned that the film’s themes really resonated in a broader and more universal way. The film may be set in New York City, but audiences saw it about their own world. Consequently, we’ve also found large audiences at theaters in over 25 different states, from Alaska to Kentucky to New Hampshire to New Mexico. We played for a full month in Denver, six straight weeks in Oregon, more than five weeks in the (San Francisco) Bay Area, five weeks in Omaha. In February, the film went up to Canada, where it played six straight weeks in Toronto. It’s been so gratifying to see how a small documentary can still find audiences in movie theaters and connect with people in a deep way. We’re excited where the film has gone, and we’re looking forward for more people to discover it.” (The film is scheduled to play at theaters in Cary in June.)
Not surprisingly, Workman has fond memories of RiverRun – and hopes to make a few more in the future.
“When Matt and I look back on this past crazy year, we are often drawn to the great week we had at RiverRun,” he said. “It was only the second film festival we played – after our premiere at SXSW. We had three showings at the a/perture, and they all sold out. Looking back, those RiverRun screenings probably helped us realize that the movie might actually have some broader appeal. It was such a great week where we also watched a ton of great films and met some terrific people, and Matt also led a walk around Winston-Salem. I’m looking forward to submitting my next (as-yet-untitled) film to RiverRun, which is about the 20-year-old domino artist and YouTube star Lily Hevesh.”
– The official website for The World Before Your Feet is www.theworldbeforeyourfeet.com/.
See Mark Burger’s reviews of current movies on Burgervideo.com. © 2019, Mark Burger.