The Hiphop Archive and Research Institute will be hosting the Boston advance screening of feature film KICKS at AMC Boston Common 19 on Thursday, September 15. Recently premiered at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival, KICKS is the directorial debut for Oakland native Justin Tipping and the semi-autobiographical story of a young man hunting for his “kicks.”
Fifteen-year-old Brandon, played by up-and-coming breakout star Jahking Guillory, longs for a pair of the freshest sneakers that money can buy; assuming that merely having them on his feet will help him escape the reality of being poor, neglected by the opposite sex and picked on by everyone — even his best friends. Working hard to get them, he soon finds that the titular shoes have instead made him a target after they are promptly snatched by local hood, Flaco (Kofi Siriboe). Seemingly the embodiment of menace, Flaco harbors complexities of his own that will be revealed when Brandon goes on a mission to retrieve his stolen sneakers with his two best friends in tow.
Boasting a strong ensemble cast, and featuring a memorable lead performance, the film transcends a deceptively traditional hero’s journey to deliver a “… 21st century tale about inner city masculinity and the feelings of isolation and loneliness that often plague us during adolescence. It's a film about manhood and the cycles that continue to spiral through generations, flattening many Black men while others barely escape the carnage," (Aramide A. Tinubu, IndieWire). Sam Eifling of Sole Collector explains, “the kids are relatable, the score is moody and dreamy; the soundtrack is a playground of hip-hop. And its world feels authentic in a way that most features don’t, in part because it grew out of a real milieu.” Visually and thematically rich, with an amazing soundtrack of both hip-hop classics and Bay Area favorites, KICKS creates an original, true-to-life portrait of a young man drowning in the expectations of machismo.