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Assembling the Corteiz Cinematic Universe for Its Nike Air Max 95 Collab


Editor Joseph Taylor and executive producer Alice Wills give us insights into bringing together one of advertising’s biggest cultural moments of the year in Corteiz x Nike’s ‘Rules the World’ ad

Assembling the Corteiz Cinematic Universe for Its Nike Air Max 95 Collab

Since the UK streetwear brand Corteiz dropped its most ambitious film yet, there’s been little doubt in anyone who’s seen its mind that it lives up to its tagline: it ‘Rules the World’. Five years since British-Nigerian entrepreneur Clint (better known as Clint419) founded the brand, Corteiz hasn’t put a step wrong in terms of understanding UK culture and streetwear audiences, and is now collaborating with one of the world’s biggest brands full stop – Nike. 

To reveal the Corteiz x Nike Air Max 95s, the brand commissioned director Walid Labri and production company DIVISION to make a three-and-a-half-minute film imagining the panic in a world where the release has stopped. Stock traders scramble, people fight in the streets over the 100 pairs in existence and a pair is sold at auction for an extortionate amount.

The ad, titled ‘Rules the World’ ties together characters and scenes from many of Corteiz previous content, starring Manchester City star Phil Foden recreating Ronaldinho’s notorious crossbar challenge ad that took centre stage in Nike’s ‘Joga Bonito’ film. With another familiar face in tow, UK singer-songwriter Jorja Smith takes up the role of an unhelpful call centre worker. 

If you don’t instantly love it, you’re probably not the target audience. But you’ve got to respect the attention the film received when Corteiz posted it online. Take a minute to scroll through the replies and quote tweets to the official drop tweet. The praise from streetwear aficionados and figures in UK pop culture and fashion is overwhelming. It’s not what usually happens when someone releases an ad for a pair of trainers.

Fascinated to understand the cultural magic that the film found, LBB’s Alex Reeves spoke to The Assembly Rooms editor Joseph Taylor and DIVISION executive producer Alice Wills.

LBB> Where did the idea begin and how did it come together into the final film between the creative vision of Clint and Walid?

Alice> I can tell you that from start to finish Walid has had creative freedom — thanks to the confidence that Corteiz and Nike placed in his vision. We were all really excited to work on it for that reason but also because of the cultural impact this film would have.  

Since Corteiz started five years ago, this campaign aimed to pay homage to all those that grew up with Corteiz — right from the very first ad with the yellow quad bike, until now.  It also pays homage to the culture Walid (and many of us) grew up with — for example Nike’s iconic Joga TV. 

LBB> What form was this project in when you first got involved and what was your initial reaction?

Joseph> Walid called me a few weeks before the shoot to tell me about the film and talk me through the ideas he had for it, and I told him I was in straight away. From how he’d described it, I knew it was going to be an absolute playground for me when it came to the edit. 

LBB> There's a lot of the ‘Corteiz cinematic universe’ to cram in. What drove the key decisions on balancing all of those aspects?

Joseph> The idea was always to do something that would cycle through characters and elements of previous Corteiz films, but that would still work overall whether a viewer knew those characters or not. We would remind ourselves of this throughout the edit and arrived in a place that ticked both boxes.

Above: 'DA SKYDIVE', another film for Corteiz by Walid, launched in December 2022.

LBB> How did shooting on 35mm affect the process?

Joseph> The guys shot most of it on 35 (which I find to be a joy to work with, especially when it’s Chris behind the camera) but also shot select moments on a mix of other formats (digital broadcast for the news, bullet time for the crazy quad bike sequence at the end, etc.). It was nice that the mixed-format approach served a functional purpose to the story in its use as opposed to just being thrown in as a stylistic accessory. 

Above: 'My BOLO', February 2022.

LBB> What was it like collaborating with Walid?

Joseph> This is my second project with Walid he’s been a great collaborator on both occasions. He had a strong, clear vision for this one from the offset, which clicked from the first conversations we had about the project - from there it quickly became a very instinctual process of feeling our way through the material, seeing what ideas came up as we went along and then honing in on the ones that felt right. 

LBB> What moments are you happiest with in the final film?

Joseph> The first one that comes to mind has to be bringing back Nike’s famous Joga Bonito TV in the scene with Phil Foden. I grew up watching the original Joga TV ads religiously so that was a cool piece of nostalgia. 

Apart from that I’d say that overall, taking the 15-20 scenes we had to work with and turning them into a journey that covers such a wide range of different shooting / editing styles but somehow manages to flow was pretty satisfying. 

Alice> We’re all really pleased with how the film turned out, and everyone who donated their time and effort to making it happen. For that we have to thank the power of the Corteiz community, Nike, and DIVISION’s collaborators.

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LBB Editorial, Mon, 13 Mar 2023 14:29:30 GMT