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Iraq veteran bikes from Boston to D.C.

by Jason Madanjian / Beacon Staff • January 24, 2013

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Iraq veteran bikes from Boston to DC
courtesy of Tone Kat Productions
Iraq veteran bikes from Boston to DC
courtesy of Tone Kat Productions

On Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012, Camilo Atehortua began a 520-mile bike journey, riding from Boston to Washington, D.C. His ride raised $2,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project, a non-profit organization that helps service members transition back to civilian life and provides relief and programs to wounded vets in America. Atehortua himself developed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after spending four years in the United States Marine Corps in Iraq. 

The new documentary Ride Crazy: A Single Man March, produced by Emerson alumna Kitty Martin, chronicles Atehortua’s daring expedition. The film recently had its world premiere at the Kendall Square Cinema on Jan. 14, with Martin in attendance. After the Kendall screening, an additional $760 was raised for the Wounded Warrior Project.  

Martin, who is friends with the film’s star Atehortua, said she became involved because she was drawn to the condition that afflicts her friend. 

“Just because certain wars are over, doesn’t mean internal demons still don’t exist,” said Martin.

Atehortua began his pilgrimage only a week after Hurricane Sandy devastated the east coast. Often, he found it difficult to find bike shops open for repairs. The documentary follows his race to get to Washington before Veteran’s Day to honor his fellow veterans. 

“The movie has a big humanitarian message,” said Martin of Atehortua’s charitable nature. “It makes a big difference to reach out to someone you don’t know. The film had a very broad appeal in that way.” 

The documentary was created by attaching a camera to the front of Atehortua’s bike, with director Anthony Bardunis instructing him to film everything he could. From there, Bardunis, who is also Martin’s husband, edited the 60 gigabytes of footage into a compelling documentary.

“The film definitely captures the struggles that he faced on the road,” said Martin. “It shows the difficulties of sharing the road with cars and trucks.”

Martin, along with Bardunis, own the media company Tonekat Productions. They released the feature-length documentary through their company, along with the music that accompanies it. 

 A soundtrack for the documentary was scored by The Electric Fire, founded by director Bardunis. Through Tonekat Productions, the group released their debut album, Don’t They Know, last year.

 “Originally, the documentary was just going to be a music video before we realized the sheer amount of footage we had,” said Martin. “But music still really propels the story.”

At Emerson, Martin was a dance major. She credits the college for providing the skills she now applies to producing, like marketing. 

“As a dance major, we not only acted and performed in our own shows, but we had to market them, too,” said Martin. “I received a lot of encouragement from staff and faculty during my time there.”

Through Tonekat Productions, Martin published her first book this past fall, entitled Kitty Literate: Volume One. The collection of short stories, in the same style as David Sedaris, is available for download through the Amazon Kindle.

“I took my first-ever writing classes at Emerson, and lo and behold, one day I got my book published,” said Martin.

The film can next be seen at 51 Lincoln, a restaurant in Newton, Mass. on Feb. 5 at 6:30 and 9:00 p.m. 

“The premiere may be over,” said Martin. “But this is just the beginning.”