Justin Tipping directed and co-wrote Kicks, a coming-of-age film set in the San Francisco Bay area. The film revolves around a young teenager Brandon (Jahking Guillory), who dreams of owning a trendy pair of sneakers or kicks. He owns an old and frayed pair of sneakers, while all his friends sport brand new, funky shoes. And through sheer luck Brando gets a new pair of sneakers. He barely gets to enjoy his brand new sneakers before he is attacked and the sneakers are stolen from him. Shock gives way to resolve and Brandon decides to fight and get his sneakers back.The rest of the film revolves around how Brandon plots to get the sneakers back and in the process undergoes a transformation.
Tipping set the story in Oakland, which is where he hung out growing up in the East Bay. He trains his lens on the twin sub-cultures of this region that we barely get to hear or see: sneaker culture and side show. The film is partly inspired by Vittoria Di Sica’s Bicycle Thieves and the notion of masculinity in American culture.
We met Tipping in San Francisco to talk to him about the making of Kicks, and growing up in the East Bay. The film has a touch of autobiographical element – it was inspired by an incident that happened to Tipping as a teenager and it involved a pair of kicks.
LISTEN: JUSTIN TIPPING ON KICKS
Kicks opens in San Francisco Bay area on September 9, 2016.