4 Things We Learned About ‘Kicks’ From Director Justin Tipping
Kicks is based on Justin’s younger years:
The whole world and story is based off of my teenage years growing up in the Bay Area.
Like Brandon, Justin was jumped over a pair of sneakers:
When I was 16, I was kinda in the wrong place at the wrong time. I specifically remember getting jumped and stomped out by 10 kids. And they noticed me because I was wearing a brand new pair of Nikes.
The inspiration/message of Brandon’s story:
When my older brother was trying to console me about [getting jumped] he was like, ‘It’s okay. You’re a man now.’ It was that specific moment that I was proud – at the same time, deeply saddened by it.
To me, in retrospect, I don’t understand why masculinity is always associated with violence. And why looking back on it with time, there’s this weird social construct that we have where I realized I was never taught it’s okay to cry. I was taught that the only emotion I could feel was anger.
That’s kinda the things I wanted to explore [in the film].
On the significance of the Astronaut:
It functions on two levels. The first, the association of astronauts and boys is one of innocence and imagination. It also parallels [Brandon’s] loneliness and visually an astronaut walking around in public spaces in the world is totally out of place. That was kinda where the character was coming from.
The other thing, for me, in developing it was it’s sorta like a machismo and the idea of what it means to be a man. At first, [the astronaut] starts off as this sort of guardian angel. He’s there for all of these big moments – when [Brandon] picks up the gun, when he goes down the hallway after he decides to go into [Flaco’s] house. And you realize he’s leading him down a dark path. Because he represents this idea of what we define or have been defining as what it means to ‘man up’…ultimately, I needed to kill [the astronaut] – kill the idea.
In the end, [Brandon’s experience] becomes the shedding and the true rite of passage. He’s learned how to stand up for himself with his fists. He also understood how to put the gun down.
Watch the trailer for Kicks below.
Kicks opens in limited release on September 9 and it opens everywhere on September 16.
Do you plan to check it out?