In Sneaker Stories, we meet the basketball players Adrian, Karl and Aziz and watch as they struggle to find a place for themselves within an international cycle of control and commodification. In this trans- global documentary, the protagonists live somewhere between fantasies of sports fame and an inglorious everyday reality. Bewitched by the marketing images and advertisements which dazzle young athletes all over the world, they follow impossible dreams, and lose sight of their more realistic choices....
Katharina Weingartner began work on Sneaker Stories while she was finishing her first documentary, too soon for sorry, and discovered a startling confluence of statistics. Since the mid-nineteen eighties, Nike, the NBA and hip-hop artists have all seen their sales triple, even as incarceration rates of African-American and Latino men have also exploded. In 2006, Nike's marketing budget was bigger than the gross domestic product of Ghana. Sneaker Stories connects the dots, and traces a line from the nineteenth century African slave trade to American industrialization and racism, from the branding of black bodies and inner city poverty to our outsourcing, Nike-economy of today.
Sneaker Stories has no narrators, no interviews with scholars or famous basketball players, and no easy answers. Instead, Adrian, Karl and Aziz, three quietly poignant young men, speak for themselves, grapple with their dreams, and hustle through their unspectacular lives, all against a backdrop of coohunting and transnational profit. Scenes with rain clouds and a sort of unhurried poetry wash over us, and we come away with inescapable conclusions.
Vienna Adrian Chelba, Kristian Kolar, Damir Muharemovic and the players from the cage at Margaretengürtel
New York Jerome „Fridge“ Holman, Pee Wee Kirkland, Artie „Lou“ Lawyer, Claudio Ramirez, Rick Rosario, Karl „The Bear“ Sanders, Andre „Stash“ Smith, Darren Sykes, Sha Whitfield and the Team Paradise
Accra Karfí Alhassan, Aziz Aliwu, Ajara Amidu, Albert „Stone“ Donkor, Paul Mensah, Raphael Mensah, Sasu Mensah and The Nima Flames
Written and directed by
Wolfgang Lehner, AAC
Alexandra Löwy, AEA, VOESD
David Hocs Bernhard J. Schmid
Bernhard Bamberger, VOESD
Eckart Göbel, Alexander Koller (Synchrofilm)
Rudi Ortner and Andreas Schindler
Raphael Barth (Golden Girls)
Wolfgang Hilbert and Richart Schneider (Medienring + artists)
Jakob Schindegger (ZONE)
Markus Wailand and Jakob Weingartner
Alice Arnold, Klaus Gröner, Tom Terrell, Markus Wailand
Tanko Bitugu, Andreas Grünewald, Dana Mitea, Ramon Morillo, Damon Russell, Jakob Weingartner
Joshua Kwesi Aikins, Valerie Bauernfeind, Andreas Grünewald, Angelika Unterholzner, Jakob Weingartner
Tabab Abu, Philomina Asase, Pat Blashill, Abdallah Salisu
Dee Dee Halleck
Aon Jauch & Hübener GmbH
Commissioning Editor ORF