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Video: A Day In The Life Of A Vet Who Cleans Our Desert Roads

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A short documentary explores the modest life of a veteran who keeps the desert clean. Marty comes from Los Angeles-based filmmakers Franck Tabouring and Caitlin Crommett, and Open Valve Studios. Tabouring last captivated us with his film Useless Sea, a short documentary about the fading Salton Sea.

In Marty, we meet Marty Pigue, a 55-year-old veteran who spends his time cleaning up desert highways two hours south of L.A. Through beautiful, sweeping shots of the open desert, the short takes us through an average day with Marty.

He sleeps in a tent, gets up at 5 a.m., and fixes himself coffee and breakfast. When the sun offers enough light, he roves the roads, picking up trash and recyclables, the latter of which he trades in for cash. He says he walks anywhere between 4 and 8 miles each day. His campsite reads, "Marty, the Highway Recycle Guy."

He conveys a somewhat lonely presence, saying he's estranged from his surviving family members. But he keeps the company of his dog, and works for himself, saying, "I'm pretty much content." He also has a friend who picks him up each week and takes him into town where he spends the money he earns from collecting recyclables on supplies. He also sells flags and vintage cans, and occasionally receives gifts of food or ice from friends and appreciative passersby.

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"I don't get a check. I don't get food stamps. I don't get nothing. I'm out here working, I'm not out here goofing off," he says.

The filmmakers are trying to help Marty raise funds for a new trailer to use to haul his recyclables. You can find that GoFundMe here. The filmmakers intend to give Marty the funds for his trailer and any extra money raised, and promise to document their trip along the way.

Tabouring tells LAist, "The film is an inspirational tale about a human being who opted for a simple life in the open desert in order to do something good for the environment around us."

Marty from Open Valve Studios on Vimeo.