Derek Dow screens ‘Beyond The Sole’ at Black Harvest Film Festival

Photo Courtesy of Derek Dow

Gym shoes, jumpers, kicks, sneakers — whatever you call them — have created a community of “sneakerheads” that has grown tremendously over the past few years. Sneaker head culture has developed and people gather around the world to share their experiences and tastes. Top name brands, colors, styles and designs vary depending on who the sneaker head is; however, it is so much deeper than the shoe.

Derek Dow is a self-proclaimed sneaker head and a filmmaker. His documentary Beyond the Sole, which shines a light on the culture, was being screened during the start of the Black Harvest Film Festival held at the Gene Siskel Center in Chicago.

We had an opportunity to speak with Dow and get his thoughts on sneakers and Black film.

Photo by Eddy “Precise” Lamarre for Steed Media Service

Tell everybody why we are here at the Gene Siskel Film center tonight.

Well, I am screening my first foray into documentaries and also my thesis for USC Beyond The Sole. I’ve been making films for the past seven years and I’ve been at the Black Harvest at least five other times with different films. I’m constantly working on my craft, understanding who I am as an artist and constantly putting out content and work because that’s the only way you get better.

How do you feel the climate is for Black filmmakers?

I feel there is no excuse not to do anything. I feel if you work hard enough you can get what ever you need done. I shot my first film on  Panasonic DVX100. Thats a five thousand dollar camera. Nowadays you can get a nine hundred dollar camera and one memory stick and do the same thing. Maybe what you make with that camera won’t look like transformers, but the audience doesn’t care about that. They care about the story being good. The story is king. If you can master your story and get your story together you are good.

What is different about you since you graduated from film school?

I have a perfect blend of a Chicago guerrilla filming style and more technical knowledge. I may not be able to perform a technical aspect of filming but I know the language and I can give better direction. I know how to properly convey to my actors. I know how to pick talent. I know the difference between picking someone because you like them and picking someone who has talent.

Photo by Eddy “Precise” Lamarre for Steed Media Service

Tell us a little about Beyond the Sole.

Beyond the Sole is a play off of the sole of a gym shoe. It’s pretty much about sneaker culture, but not just the materialism. It’s more from the aspect of the community that is formed around it and how we build bonds over shoes. A lot of people think it’s funny, but you have to realize before comic books blew up somebody was saying comic books were stupid and now we have Comic Con. Comic Con is one of the biggest events in America. Some of the biggest movies in the box office are comics. Crap is crap until it’s not.

Beyond The Sole is playing again Aug. 13 at 8 p.m. during the Made in Chicago 1 Shorts Program at the Gene Siskel Film Center. Click the link for the calendar and listing of other films showing at the Black Harvest Film Festival

You can follow Dow on Twitter: oprettyboy1


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