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Freshman director Justin Tipping says he used his personal experience to develop the story behind his debut feature narrative film KICKS. Growing up in the hard-scrabble streets of Oakland, California, in San Francisco's East Bay area, Tipping was assaulted by a group of neighborhood toughs when he was seen wearing a pair of expensive Nikes. "I remember feeling absolutely destroyed. My older brother said, 'Oh, it's okay, you're a man now.' In that moment I was somehow really proud that I'd been through a rite of passage. But when I had time to reflect on it, I couldn't disagree more with how backwards our idea of what it means to become a man and masculinity is, for me to have just been the subject of nonsensical violence." His experience led him to develop the film Kicks, with his writing partner, Joshua Beirne-Golden (currently, in post-production for Universal's Lowriders, due for summer release and NANI, world premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival). KICKS tells the story of Brandon (actor, rapper, former national tv commercial child star and Junior Olympic track champion Jahking Guillory-in fact, the film begins and ends with a scene of him running) who is jacked up by by the town bullies in his native West Oakland and robbed of his pair of rare Air Jordan's. The neighborhood tough, Flaco (a stellar Kofi Siriboe, the great grandson of a Ghanaian King who debuted in Ice Cube's "The Longshots" and acted in the Academy Award winning film "Whiplash") snatches Brandon's precious Air Jordan 1 sneakers. The movie is then set in motion with Brandon and his sidekicks Albert (Christopher Jordan Wallace; Will Ferrell's "Everything Must Go," also played the younger version of the rapper Notorious B.I.G. in the film "Notorious") and Rico (Christopher Meyer, currently seen in the second season of the Fox hit mid-season series "Wayward Pines") set out to retrieve the sneakers.