Continuing our interviews with the three directors of the recent ‘Nike Sportswear at The Montalbán presents Cinema Tuesdays 3 x 3: The Windrunner Shorts’ series of short films Slam X Hype’s Yevgeniy Shukhman caught up with Todd James aka REAS, having already talked with Adam Weissman. Having directed a three part series with the main character “Mr Windrunner” evolved from his recent Lightning Bolt which appeared on a Windrunner which hit stores in August, REAS has lived up to his highly acclaimed reputation.
Yevgeniy Shukhman – Todd, you are introduced as a painter, street artist and a cartoonist. How do all of these roles fit in with doing 3 X 3 project for Nike Sportswear?
Todd James – Well, I designed a Windrunner Jacket with a Lightning Bolt character on it, and Nike Sportswear wanted to make a short with a character. When the time came, we decided the short should be about a generic Windrunner jacket, not just a Lightning Bolt Character. So I came up with another idea for a mascot character. I did a lot of character design for a puppet show “Crank Yankers” so I had wanted to do something similar to that. A Sid and Marty Krofft type of thing. I came up with the final design that we ended up doing, a Windrunner short, which is a guy dressed as a bullet with a propeller. He runs around a lot, he is a speedy mascot and a fast talking salesman.
YS – Is it three episodes? Are they connected with each other?
TJ - Yes it’s three episodes. Each episode is basically about how fast he is, how good it is to be fast.
YS – So is he a Windrunner?
TJ - Yes he is the mascot who represents a Windrunner jacket. He is fast and he races hipsters.
YS – So Is he a winner?
TJ - Yes he’s a winner.
YS – What was it like to make these shorts?
TJ - You know this is what’s interesting about this project. I got a lot of my friends, who are all super talented in their own right to help with the project. My friend Sam Siegler who was in “Gorilla Biscuits” and allot of other similar hardcore bands. He did the music but you’d never tell he did because it’s all electronic. My friend Matt directed it and Ryan edited it. The guy who stars in it is an old friend of mine as well, Max Cohen who’s actually been a salesman. So the character is based a lot on him and conversations I had with him, he is super a funny guy. I mean he can sell Gandhi a tank! Everyone who worked on this project knew each other and were super tight family.
YS – How long did it take to produce?
TJ - We shot it all in one day, the production part took about a week and the editing and special effects took about a month.
YS – What was it like working with Nike Sportswear?
TJ – It was great. My friend at Nike, Christian Parkes made sure everything happened.
YS – You just has a solo show at Lazarides Gallery “Blood & Treasure”. How was it?
TJ – Oh it was fantastic.
YS – Was it all new work?
TJ – Yes, all new work. There is a book about the show that Lazarides put out. They sold them there and should be sending me a bunch. It’s all mostly about war and global conflict.
YS – Can I ask you about your cartoon series “Minoriteam” that was aired on Adult Swim? It was mad funny. Are you planning to continue it?
TJ – TJ: We made twenty episodes and that was it. So it’s done. I would’ve liked to, and three of us always thought it would have been nice to make it in to a live action one. That would have been really fun! Sort of like in a style of “Shaolin Soccer” almost even cartoony.
YS – So what’s next for you?
TJ – There is a big group show “Outsiders NY” in New York by Lazarides that I’m in. So it’s a pretty busy next couple of months. There is some more things happening but I can’t talk about them yet.
YS – Thank you so very much Todd.
TJ - Thanks man.