Vans puts an exuberant, heartfelt spin on community and connection in three new films that celebrate skateboarding culture in North America, Europe and China.
Produced pre-Covid under the athletic footwear and apparel company's long running "Off the Wall" banner, each video runs about four minutes and bristles with kinetic energy. They provide keen, colorful insights into the shared passion that unites skateboarders as an extended family.
First, we meet Kristin Ebeling and Shari White, from the Pacific Northwest, founders of the Skate Witches zine that chronicles boarding style around the world while extolling the virtues of friendship, creativity, and personal identity:
The salient line comes early: "We're not here to say, 'Girl Power.' We wanna live in a world where that's not even a conversation, and that doesn't even matter, because there's equal opportunities and representation of all different people. We're, like, post that problem."
Next comes a trip to Warsaw, where Marcin "Baca" Duch and his friends build a delightfully dystopian skatepark, the Szaber Bowl, amid the rubble of an abandoned shopping mall:
The DIY force was strong in that group, as their fantastic Phoenix of concrete, curved ramps and spray paint rose from the ashes of a failed monument to rampant consumerism and hollow branding.
Finally, we get a tour of the burgeoning scene in Beijing, which provides a vital outlet for free expression and personal style:
So, skateboarding in China represents a fusion of East and West, past and present, hard work and fun.
In each film, we see the sport give young people opportunities to meet, bond and test themselves. They form close-knit social groups that roll big, sharing strength and camaraderie far beyond the skatepark.
"We don't just talk about creative expression, we actively enable it through our products, platforms and campaigns," says Vans executive creative director Rob Teague. "Instead of a traditional ad campaign, we continue to launch storytelling and provide experiences that deliver on our brand promise."
He adds: "These stories are about the power of skateboarding to build communities of diverse individuals, united under one common language: creativity. Our hope is that our audiences will see enriching, inspirational content meant to inspire their individual creativity" and that viewers translate that message "into curated, localized experiences around the globe."
Multi-disciplinary artist Julian Klincewicz directed the films, which will live on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok and various regional platforms.
Title: "Off The Wall"
Production Co.: Be Good
Creative Director: Julian Klincewicz
Art Director: Sebastian Kineke
Director of Photography: Michael Cukr/Irie Jean Calkins
Executive Producer: Hanna Farzin/Susie Turner
Director: Julian Klincewicz
Filmer: Michael Cukr, Julian Klincewicz
Editor: Michael Cukr
Photographers: Julian Klincewicz, Robin Harper (Beijing & Szaber), Sam McGuire (Skate Witches)
Post Production House/Online: Be Good
Sound Design: Michael Cukr & Joel Waters
Mixing: Joel Waters/Lime