Nike SB 'Nothing but the Truth'Kevin Imamura Interview
Do you see the launch of ‘Nothing but the Truth’ as the culmination of a lot of hard work in building Nike SB as a reputable core skate brand?
Yes, the culmination of the last 6 years. We’ve even done a small video project before (“On Tap”), but that was promo only. This is on a much larger scale and the stakes are a lot higher, but I think people will enjoy it.
In a way, while there are advantages of building a new brand within an existing company, with the strong history of Nike as a company and as brand, did you find barriers in building SB as a brand on its own and finding its intended niche?
Whenever you’re doing something that has the Swoosh attached to it, you’re never doing something on your own. And in the skate world, that is something that some people never let you forget or live down. But that’s okay, it’s just part of the task, you know? Nike has lots of resources and as long as we’re putting them all to use, it’s good. As far as finding our own niche, we’ve always just tried to be a skateboard brand. People always love to bring up the collectible factor of our shoes, but that’s just us having fun with our product and being able to tell stories. The skate team was there from the beginning and they are our biggest assets, which is why this film project is so important to us. It’s about our riders, their skills and their stories.
What was the main concept behind ‘Nothing but the Truth’ and the philosophy behind creating a Video?
The concept is exactly as the title implies. We asked our riders to tell stories about themselves and that was the outcome. There isn’t really a philosophy around making a skate video, just the basic tenants of any skate video: good riders, good tricks and good, interesting spots. If you’ve got good filmers, good editors and good music, then you have all the basic building blocks you need. But if you have a story, then you’ve got something else to tie it all together. And that’s what we were able to have some fun with.
Tell me a little bit about the Director, Lionel Goldstein and also the man behind the score, Mark Mothersbaugh. How did these relationships come about and why were they suited to this film?
The director is actually a duo of guys that go by the name of Lionel Goldstein. They’re Belgians and they don’t normally use their real names, hence the one, simple name. They’re well known for their insane commercials. We liked what we saw and thought that their sense of humor would be a good fit for us. Plus they had never done a skate project before and were excited about trying it. As for Mark Mothersbaugh, we were all fans of his previous film work and of course as a founding member of DEVO. Basically he was at the top of our wish list for people to do the soundtrack. I think he got pitched the idea and he had never done a skate video either, but was really excited about the project too.
The Nike SB Skate Team is without a doubt one of the most impressive line-ups in the world, was it difficult co-coordinating the video?
Yes and no. Basically it’s a skate teams’ job to travel, skate and get footage. So our team manager Hunter Muraira will tell you that it was hard because he had to put all the trips together and deal with the guys, but that’s basically the gig. It’s what anyone has to do in order to produce a skate video in this day and age.
As far as product is concerned, is there any products you have launching around the time of the film, we should look out for? What has been the main emphasis as far as product development goes in recent times?
There is a shoe coming out in each city that is hosting a premier. The shoe is called “WhattheDunk”. It, like our film, is a culmination of the last six years. But instead of it being our riders it is some of our best Dunks.
As far as skate films as a genre is concerned, what films have inspired you throughout the years?
Pretty much the same ones that I’m sure you’d find on anyone’s list … the stuff that Spike Jonez has been involved with are always nice, Mike Manzoori always puts out quality product, John Holland has been holding it down at TransWorld for years and has always done great videos. In terms of real oldies with stories, there hasn’t been much. Some of them came off as crazy, but they still mean a lot—The Search for Animal Chin, Streets of Fire, and Video Days. They’re all classics worthy of repeat viewings.
What do you feel are the key elements in producing a great skate film?
Like I said before: good riders, good, interesting spots, good filmers, a good editor and the best music you can afford.
You will be taking ‘Nothing but the Truth’ on a world tour as such; can you tell us a little about this?
We’re really proud of this film and have a lot of fans across the world, people that have been supporting us for a long time. Plus we traveled to a lot of the same places when we made the film, so we wanted to return and show everyone what we did. I don’t know if any team has done a tour as … well, let’s just say “ambitious” as this. Since we tried to do something different with the film, we figured we should do a tour that will be different as well. It might kill us, but we gotta try!
The film as been described as more skateboard movie than video, can you explain this?
We’re actually describing it as a skateboard film. The reason being, most skate videos simply show the skating. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, it has been the standard for the last 20 years. But when you look at something like “The Search for Animal Chin” and how the personalities of the riders resonated with skaters, it made a difference. So when we say “film,” we just mean that we tried to go beyond the definition of standard skate video. Tell a bit of a story and expose our riders’ personalities. We’ve got some real characters on the team and they’re all pretty funny on camera. That isn’t to say that the majority of the film isn’t skating, it’s about two-thirds of the movie, we’ve just got a lot of other stuff in there to keep it interesting.
Scheduled for release to authorized Nike SB dealers on October 27, 2007 and for general release on November 23, Nothing But the Truth, Nike SB’s first full length film premiered in Los Angeles tonigh at the Kodak Theater with a world tour to follow. Stay tuned for more.