Very few people have had the courage to try an accomplish what Calvan Fowler is set out to do. Properly capturing the Jordan Head Culture, while simultaneously pleasing this extrememly shrewd and cynical audience, is a feat that remains untouched. In true Michael Jordan fashion, Calvan is determined to achieve the impossible.
KATC: Letâ€™s start off with your background in film making. What films have you done in the past?
CF: Iâ€™ve done a few short films in the past. Most notably the last thing I did was a mockumentary entitled the Michael Jackson Show. I took a Michael Jackson impersonator and a full limo to the MTV awards in New York and tried to get in. Basically, we didnâ€™t end up getting in but, well we almost got in, but being that we didnâ€™t get in, we ended up driving around the city and causing havoc in the streets of NYC. I would hate to be him.
KATC: MTV didnâ€™t believe it, but that fans did?
CF: Oh did they!
CF: Some people at MTV did believe it. We got passed a lot of checkpoints. Security would look in, see that it was him and let us pass to the next checkpoint. One guy figured it out and started laughing. He let us go to the next checkpoint but he had radioed ahead to tell
the next security guard to take us off the line, which was hilarious.
KATC: Was the impersonator believable?
CF: (Laughs) He had the look and the persona. He had the look that people associate with
Michael Jackson and people just wanted to believe. People were taking pictures, getting autographs, we even had cops following us around the city because it got so crazy.
KATC: Was this released!?!
CF: No but I went to several film festivals around the country and there were a few screens around the country.
KATC: I guess then, this is your first foray into a full length documentary. Will it be a full length documentary?
CF: It will be a full length documentary. It will be VERY full. It is going to be very different from your average documentary, where you have directors that think very factually and everything is facts, facts, facts. Not that this wont be factual, but it will be very entertaining at the same time.
KATC: Ok it will be full length. Do you have a projected running time yet?
CF: At least an hour or so guaranteed, but, it depends on the Jordan Head themselves and what they have to say in their story. If they bring something very different to the table and their stories are very differentâ€¦For instance there is this one kid whoâ€™s friend passed away and his family started to relinquish his Jordanâ€™sâ€¦ so his parents (the parents of the deceased) gave them to him. Thatâ€™s a very different story from someone else who goes out there and says I have every Jordan re-release. This kid wears these Jordanâ€™s with
pride. He feels his [deceased] friend is with him every time he wears them. There are so many different facets to peopleâ€™s stories. This will not be your average documentary.
KATC: To take a step back to get a wider view of the picture itself, the biggest question isâ€¦Why? Why are you doing this?
CF: Oh boyâ€¦basically I worked with Spike Lee. He has a deal with Nike and he gets Jordanâ€™s all the time. I used to love them so much, but, I couldnâ€™t afford them and I idolize Mr. Jordan as well. He was just a role model to me. Basically I saw that the sneakers symbolized a work ethic. There are so many different things that I could say the sneakers symbolized, but, to get to the point. I saw these sneakers and said to myself I would love to have these sneakers.
CF: I remember this one time I had a pair of Air Max 95s on. When they first came out in 95 so they werenâ€™t called Air Max 95s at the time, they were just called Air Maxes. Spike saw my sneakers and he got the phone and called his wardrobe person and said get me those Air Maxes that are out now, the lime green and black ones. He never complemented me on my sneakers but he got on the phone and he got them. I was like man, I canâ€™t believe that he can do that. This is crazy.
CF: So I was like what can I do to show my love for sneakers. Itâ€™s great to have money to buy these sneakers, but, what can I do as a fan and as a person who idolizes Michael Jordan and doesnâ€™t even have any pairs. I didnâ€™t have any pairs at this time. Just like I did with the Michael Jackson show, I did that because I am a fan of Michael Jackson.
CF: So I saw the sneakers and I loved them. I got my first pair in 92 and I rocked them until the soles fell off, literally. I remember I went to take out the garbage one day and both soles, of my VIs, the sole just came off of my feet. I think my feet were on the ground thatâ€™s how hard I rode these shoes!
KATC: Were they the infrared VIs?
CF: Yep, the black on red. I gotta report that to Nike or something; they shouldnâ€™t have come apart like thatâ€¦I mean both of them at the same time? I couldnâ€™t believe it. Iâ€™m in the market to get another pair
KATC: Well Jordanâ€™s are notorious for cracking at the sole for some reasonâ€¦
CF: I couldnâ€™t believe it! I was walking on my socks!
KATC: So basically what you are saying is, the documentary is a product of your being a fan of the sneakerâ€¦
CF: Yes. The sneaker sets an example of integrity and perseverance. I mean if you read this mans story, itâ€™s just a symbol of the many things that heâ€™s done and what heâ€™s accomplished. Heâ€™s not playing anymore and the sneakers are still the highest selling sneakers.
CF: Another reason was I look down, because I take the train all the time, and I see Jordanâ€™s everywhere. Everywhere I look I see Jordanâ€™s and Iâ€™m like wow, these kids are wearing these Jordanâ€™s and I donâ€™t think these kids have ever seen Mike ever play a game, or have even seen the magic of an actual NBA game with him playing. So I was like wow, wouldnâ€™t it be great to educate these kids and give them some type of history on the sneaker and how it came to be and who Michael Jordan is? For them to see other peopleâ€™s stories as to why they love these sneakers and why they obtain them, and not because they are a â€œfashion trendâ€ or for the color scheme. There is more to it then just the sneakers.
KATC: So the documentary will have some educational aspects within it.
CF: It definitely will. I will also have some surprises in there. I know the Jordan Heads are going to appreciate the surprises that are going to be in this film.
KATC: That leads me into my next question quite nicely actually. I donâ€™t know if youâ€™ve come across this at all yet, but, Jordan Heads can be extremely cynicalâ€¦.
CF: I have run into that. Everyone that Iâ€™ve met that I tell about this project, they want me to bring it, and thatâ€™s what I have to do.
KATC: There is cynicism between the collectors themselves and also between the collectors and anyone who tries to create a film/show about the culture, like you are trying to do. Which is somewhat of a double edged sword for you because not only do you have to please the collectors within the collectors who might say â€œhe shouldnâ€™t have covered this guy because heâ€™s â€œnot realâ€ he doesnâ€™t know what an OG Jordan isâ€, but you also have to please the collectors on a whole in the terms of properly portraying what is going with the culture. Do you feel this pressure? How is the doc setup to try to satisfy everyone?
CF: A lot of people say that you need to get OGs and you shouldnâ€™t get retros, but at the same time, you had people growing up during the time of OGs who couldnâ€™t afford them because they were too expensive. Now this is their opportunity to live the magic and relive their childhood because they can afford them now.
CF: One of the reasons the film is being made is because it will be able to let people understand why these people are getting these sneakers now and why they couldnâ€™t get them back then, and their love for the sneaker.
KATC: Right I understand. Most of the Jordan Heads nowadays grew up seeing MJ play when they were teenagers and probably beat their OGs to death, so now, they can afford the retros to relive their memories.
CF: I donâ€™t see anything wrong with that to tell you the truth. But I do see people who buy the sneakers just because their boys have the sneakers, and those are the people I am trying to avoid. There has to be a story behind each individual and their sneakers. Itâ€™s going to be something like, someone that got a new set of retros after the Katrina hurricane. There are so many different reasons why people get these retros, and other people donâ€™t seem to realize that there is more to it then just getting a pair of sneakers.
KATC: There are different categories of collectors. How expansive is your base of collectors?
CF: You are going to have people fromâ€¦you are going to have babies to people well in their 50s
KATC: How about in terms of people with different levels of passion for the sneaker?
CF: Well I am trying to get as many different people from around the world as possible. I
hope people understand that this will take some time, I am paying for all of this out of my own pocket.
KATC: At least you believeâ€¦
CF: I truly believe. I have to believe. If this man didnâ€™t exist, people wouldnâ€™t be wearing sneakers on their feet or would have adopted a certain style. The reason why these sneakers exist is because of Michael Jordan. The reason why most sneakers are designed the way they are today, and not just Nikes, is because of Michael Jordan. These sneakers set a trend, they set a fashion plate. Itâ€™s about the man behind the shoe, his passion on the court and off the court. Not only did he put his passion into the sneaker, but so did Nike and the designers behind him. They really believe in what they are doing.
KATC: So your base is Jordan Heads from around the world.
CF: Yeah you have families around the world, whole familes; mother, father, sister, brother, its crazyâ€¦
KATC: How far have your travels taken you thus far?
CF: I havenâ€™t traveled out of the states yet but I plan on going out to Europe by the end of this year.
KATC: Are you going to the Far East?
CF: That hasnâ€™t been planned yet but I want to I have to make some connects
KATC: They have an extremely passionate Jordan cultureâ€¦
CF: I know and Iâ€™ve spoken to people about that, I have to get out there
KATC: Will there be any celebrities in the movie?
CF: Quite a few. I donâ€™t want to give any names. But thatâ€™s not the reason why this film is being made just to get them in there.
KATC: Do you consider yourself a Jordan collector?
CF: I am a Nike collector really. My Jordan collection is nowhere near to what is out there. I am embarrassed to say that I have Jordanâ€™s compared to some people out there. Some
people have walk-in closets full of Jordanâ€™s. Grown men, instead of buying shoes, are buying these sneakers.
KATC: What is your favorite Jordan sneaker?
The Black/Red VIs and the Black/Red XIs
KATC: Did you pick up the DMP?
CF: I didnâ€™t and Iâ€™m upset with myself. I kick myself in the face for that. I was out filming that night and I didnâ€™t ask anyone to try to get me oneâ€¦I was so involved in the shooting and it didnâ€™t work out for me to get a pack.
KATC: Did you cover the lines that night?
CF: Did I? I covered the Bronx to Queensâ€¦Midtown was crazy
KATC: What is your least favorite Jordan?
CF: I donâ€™t like the VIIIs
KATC: What do you think about the 21s?
CF: I picked them up. To be honest with you, I wasnâ€™t going to get them until I saw the
commercial. That commercial made me by the sneaker and thatâ€™s the marketing genius behind the Jordan brand.
KATC: Now that we know who you are targeting to be a part of the film, who are you targeting as a viewer?
CF: Everybody, but mainly true Jordan Heads at heart, even people who may not own a pair of Jordanâ€™s, but who just love the man, and want to see everything that is Jordan.
KATC: Thatâ€™s a tall order. How do you think the movie you will make all of these viewers happy enough to the point where they will say, â€œok, this guy did a pretty thorough job?â€ What within the movie will capture that?
CF: I donâ€™t want to give anything away, but this film will encompass every facet about the sneaker. From the conception to the way it is now. On the very last day of shooting we will have the latest info on the newest Jordan. Let me tell you, these guys at Nike are already working on the 25sâ€¦You are going see things, that no one else hasâ€¦it is going have everything in there. It is going to be the ultimate sneaker film, not only Jordan sneakers, but the ultimate sneaker film.
KATC: How much is Nike going to be involved in this?
CF: I donâ€™t really want to go into the Nike thing to tell you the truth because I am dealing with them on a specific level that Iâ€™d rather not discuss. And itâ€™s not a financial level. I want to do this all legal. I definitely want to make a film that Nike will be satisfied with. I mean just the idea alone, I think they are happy with. I havenâ€™t gotten any calls from their lawyers yet soâ€¦
KATC: I am sure that they have some pretty good lawyersâ€¦
CF: They have the best lawyers
KATC: Will specific Nike figures/designers be in the film?
CF: I donâ€™t want to comment on that because nothing has been solidified. When I first
created this concept, I didnâ€™t really care if Nike was involved or not because this is all from my heart. I wasnâ€™t trying to get corporate involvement. Then I found out, there are people within this organization, that were like whatever letâ€™s do this, letâ€™s do something. I donâ€™t want to give any names out. But people will be very happy with this film.
KATC: Is there a small tidbit that you can provide me with in the film, something noteworthy?
CF: I donâ€™t want to give anything away but, there are some people that have recreated the Jordan altogether. And I think Nike needs to get in touch with these people. They are incorporating things onto the shoe, crazy things, and I think Nike needs to pay attention to this, because if they ever become designers, they might steal Nikes number one client.
KATC: Where/how will this film be distributed DVDs, in theatres, etc. ?
CF: Small screenings throughout the US and hopefully in Europe. Now itâ€™s too early to tell, because of my budget.
KATC: When do you think this film will be completed?
CF: Itâ€™s going to take some timeâ€¦I know people want to see it. I want to see it! Iâ€™m traveling to each state, each city, to meet all of these Jordan Heads
KATC: In percentage, how much as been completed?
CF: Itâ€™s very low. Iâ€™m going to be doing a lot of filming. I have a lot of people watching me and watching what I do. The stakes are high. I want to apply what I learned from Jordan to this film. But, I would say 5-10%
CF: My goal is to have Mr. Jordan in there. Once thatâ€™s done, I can pat myself on the back. I mean I can make a film on that alone, going into his closet, I am sure there are things in there no one will ever see.
KATC: On a whole, Do you feel there will ever be a brand as powerful and influential as the Jordan brand?
CF: No. I doubt it very much. You would have to think of a player or someone that has the heart and the drive of MJ. No matter how many points you score, that doesnâ€™t matter.
KATC: Right, MJ was a very powerful person even off the court.
CF: Yes, his whole demeanor helped. His persona was something to look up to.
KATC: Will there ever be another Nike?
CF: No. There will never be another Nike. There is no way.
KATC: What do you see in store for the Jordan Brand?
CF: His legacy will live on. He set the standard and until anyone surpasses that, Nike will continue to be able to sell these sneakers. His name is an establishment. If there was no Jordan there would be Nike.
KATC: So without Jordan there is no Nike?
CF: Plain and simple. Before Jordan came out what sneakers came out that were designed like that? No other sneaker got the attention that Jordanâ€™s did.
KATC: What do you want to say to all the Jordan heads out there about the movie?
CF: Look out for the film it will have everything you have been dreaming about. You will see people from around the world that are just like you, you are not alone.