Long gone are the primitive days when athletic shoes were merely for sports and leisure activity. Over the last two decades sneakers have eclipsed designer shoes (sorry, Manholo and Jimmy) as a global cultural and style phenomenon. Just for Kicks takes you through the historic evolution of the sneaker in engrossing detail, starting with the grandfathers of stylized kicks wear: hip-hop's late 70s and early 80s B-Boys. The documentary treats viewers to an entertaining refresher course on the hottest sneakers-of-the-moment of the past 20 years--most notably Run-DMC's reinvention of the shell-top Adidas shoe, accented by fat, untied laces, which epitomized the feverish peak of the kick fetish back in the day. And when basketball players temporarily reclaimed their rightful places as gym shoe leaders, it was the sport's indisputable worldwide hoops god, Michael Jordan, who answered the call. His revolutionary Air Jordans, aided for a spell by some hip, amusing Spike Lee-directed commercials, helped Nike introduce the series concept. (Even the company's kicks wanted to be like Mike, as epitomized by the abandonment of the company's signature logo and insignia, its trademark "swoosh.") You'll enter the private and coveted walk-in closets of some of the devoted and near compulsive "sneakers hunters," including hip-hop mogul Damon Dash, who scour the world to find the freshest, flyest and most original footwear around. Featuring interviews with Grandmaster Caz, Bill Adler, Fab Five Freddy, and breakdancing pioneers the Rock Steady Crew.
A hip-hop, skateboarding, street culture connoisseur and a reformed sneaker addict, Thibaut De Longeville is the producer and creative director of the acclaimed Battlegrounds Paris, a documentary film about Nike's annual one-on-one playground basketball tournament held in Paris. Kicks is his first feature-length documentary and stems from his rich background in journalism, graphic design, and a successful European music video directing career. De Longeville founded 360 in 1995. The Paris-based communications firm produces creative content at the crossroads of music, sports, culture, and entertainment for such clients as Nike, Virgin Records, Sony Music, Universal, and MTV since 1995. Lisa Leone is the co-director and cinematographer for Kicks. Bronx-born Leone wrote and directed Exactly, a film starring Rosie Perez and Sarita Choudhury that was featured at the 2004 Tribeca Film Festival and the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. As a cinematographer, Leone has shot a number of independent films, including The Motel (Sundance '05), and Nancy Savoca's Dirt for Showtime. Leone worked with Stanley Kubrick for three years during the preparation and shooting of Eyes Wide Shut, for which she also served as Second Unit Director. She began her career as a photographer, shooting such celebrities as Moby, Lauryn Hill, Debi Mazar, and Spike Lee.