In 2009, HIFF had the east coast premiere of a wonderful documentary called Big River Man. It’s not often that documentaries seem larger than life, bigger than anything you can imagine, but this film achieved that through both a wild protagonist and intrepid director, John Maringouin, whom we were thrilled to have attend the Festival.
The film follows overweight 53-year-old Martin Strel, who appears to be far from the incarnation of good health, yet in his current state he has achieved records for the world’s longest consecutive swims, including the entirety of the Yangtze and Danube Rivers. Documentarian John Maringouin boldly followed Strel as he embarked on a journey to complete the world’s longest ever swim: the Amazon River. Maringouin risked his life to make this film and tell Strel’s amazing story. The film won our Wouter Barendrecht Pioneering Vision Award.
Unfortunately, John’s life is in danger again. After suffering from what he thought was chronic asthma for nearly a decade, his condition worsened and it was discovered that he had a tumor in his lung. His friends and family have started a fundraising page to help pay for the surgery. We decided to share this and hope you can give money to his cause because we believe John still has more to say, more things to make, and more adventures to go on. He is a filmmaker with a unique vision of the world and once we help him get past this we can’t wait to see what he’ll give back to us.
“He is in a fighting spirit but is in need of an operation pronto! Being uninsured, he is being forced to go out-of-pocket for the procedure for which he was just quoted a price tag of $214K. Such is the state of health care in this country. He will not even be able to book the procedure without proving a nearly $60K down-payment. Since time is of the essence, THAT is our immediate goal, to get him the money to at least book the surgery.”
On Monday, John posted this to his friends via Facebook:
“Well…when my lung went phooooey last week and I got told I’d have to cough up a new Lexus as a deposit, I couldn’t have imagined that 72 hours later
my friends would pull together more than half that money online. Wow. To say I’m humbled and amazed by that isn’t enough… I must do something for you. I haven’t figured out what but it’s coming. All I know is I’m one lucky guy to have you as friends. And now that the hospital barons knows who you are (a bunch of funky badass filmmakers) they’re scared shitless. So this thing may end well.
Regardless, when it’s all over, and “Someone Saved my Life Tonite” comes back around again on the classic rock loop at midnight, instead of imagining a curvacious redhead hovering o’er my bedside, I’ll see all of your beautiful faces. You know who you are: ( I was gonna post all of your names but FB wouldn’t let me tag more than a handful) Thank you all bigtime for the love and support. I love you.”
Please visit Give Forward to learn more information.