This project was never about Nike. This was about creating a strong cinematic spot that highlighted each athlete's innermost relationship with sport. Our challenge was to craft something broad enough to embody the visuals many brands want, but strategic in its personal message and identity. Sport is hard, but even more so is the path to becoming a black athlete in Montana. These specs represent a choice to be heard and to proudly inspire others to listen.
Companies like Nike are a huge inspiration in defining brand image with a reputation for showcasing stories that empower people, educate dreamers, and strengthen communities. We too ground ourselves in those marketable moments. Nothing is more powerful than new growth in understanding. A brand should build rapport with their customers, as should one experience to another. At the heart of communication is empathy; we want our visual stories to feel human.
Amelu’s video is more abstract in nature. She is an incredibly talented student and athlete at the University of Montana, with a passion for poetry, fashion, and art. When she finished her written piece for this video, it was clear that the relationship she has with sport is equal parts expression and training. Visually showing this juxtaposition was the backbone in giving structure to Amelu’s symbolic poem. Words have momentum. In context, the word “movement” is a double entendre. On one hand, it represents sport, and on the other, an organized push for social change.
Sterling’s piece represents the idea of our minds racing alongside our hearts when we train. Sterling grew up in Missoula, Montana and became a track and field powerhouse at a young age. In Montana, prospects for a career as an athlete dry up after finishing college. Without professional leagues or infrastructure, aspiring athletes have to look elsewhere.
Sterling’s abilities, ambitions, and complexion serve as pillars of isolation in a small, mostly white town. “He’s only good at that because he’s black,” and other tired phrases have left Sterling feeling like the odd man out.
Opportunities aren’t given out evenly, so by continuing to train diligently, Sterling is keeping himself ready for when the moment strikes.
Just maybe, another kid from a small town with few opportunities will be inspired to push harder.
Special thanks to Amelu and Sterling for letting us tell your stories.
Director/DP: Lane Brown
Grip/Colorist: Michael Graef
1st AC: Kent Johns