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.


Katharina Weingartner


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
Katharina Weingartner
Executive Producers
Markus Wailand,
Katharina Weingartner
Markus Wailand
Wolfgang Lehner, AAC
Markus Wailand
Richard Fleming
Editing, Sounddesign
Alexandra Löwy, AEA, VOESD
Additional Sound
David Hocs Bernhard J. Schmid
Additional Editing
Cordula Werner
Additional Sounddesign
Bernhard Bamberger, VOESD
Audio Mix
Eckart Göbel, Alexander Koller (Synchrofilm)
Title Sounddesign
Rudi Ortner and Andreas Schindler
Foley Artist
Max Bauer
Music Consultant
Georges Sulmers
Color Correction
Raphael Barth (Golden Girls)
Opening Titles
Wolfgang Hilbert and Richart Schneider (Medienring + artists)
Screen Graphics
Jakob Schindegger (ZONE)
Markus Wailand and Jakob Weingartner
Still Photography
Alice Arnold, Klaus Gröner, Tom Terrell, Markus Wailand
Production Management
Stephanie Wagner
Production Accounting
Susanna Harrer
Production Assistants
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
Edit Consultant
Dee Dee Halleck
Technical Support
Michael Krupica
Aon Jauch & Hübener GmbH
Commissioning Editor ORF
Franz Grabner