The Tribeca Film Festival kicked off on April 14 with the opening night premiere of Justin Tipping’s Kicks, an ambitious coming-of-age film set in an inner city enclave in Northern California. Though it’s Tipping’s feature debut, he’s far from a novice filmmaker, having already won a Student Academy Award.
The semi-autobiographical Kicks focuses on 15-year-old Brandon (newcomer Jahking Guillory in a breakout performance), who buys himself a sweet new pair of “kicks.” Brandon goes on a mission.
Behind The Scenes
In terms of deciding what story to tell, The Bicycle Thief got me thinking how much this one object can mean to someone, how it can have all this emotional weight. When developing the idea of Kicks, I was definitely referencing that. It kind of gave an emotional structure to it. Then I was also watching Fellini films and the dream sequences in 8 1/2.
It was that feeling that he wanted the shoes, like Brandon in the movie. He’s got what he wants, but it’s a false victory. Then the real emotional impetus being when my brother saw my face and was like, “Well, it’s okay, you’re a man now.” It made me proud for a split second and then extremely sad. In retrospect, I look back on it and was like “That’s bullshit.