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"With her previous short Bleached and now Hypebeasts, Jessica dela Merced has emerged from her stint at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts with two of the best calling cards imaginable. Bleached was stylish, personal, funny, and poignant, but Hypebeasts ups the production ambition and ante in a major way. Set in NYC on the night before a brand new line of flashy sneakers are unleashed upon the hungry masses, the film focuses on a Filipino-American trio (one of which is played by dela Merced herself) who see themselves as belonging firmly to hip-hop culture, yet in the year 2014 they still encounter racism everywhere they turn. When the ish hits the fan later that night, a full-blown riot ensues and these friends must decide to stick to their moral guns or start acting a fool. For someone who came of age with films like Do The Right Thing and the much less heralded Hangin’ With The Homeboys, Hypebeasts was like discovering a modern blast from the distant past, a work that has a throwback spirit yet whose sneakers are firmly planted on today’s streets. Eugene Hernandez had this to say about it: “Assured filmmaking and provocative subject (with a nod to a 25 year old classic of American filmmaking). Would love to see their next film, too.” Triple truth, Ruth."

-Hammer to Nail 

 

The most coveted new sneaker goes on sale at 8am and sneakerheads across the country are camping out overnight to get them. RONNY, a young Filipino-American and die-hard sneakerhead, has been dreaming of these shoes for months, but his quest to get in line is hindered when a fast food cashier's racist joke offends his sister JUSTINE. Ronny's night takes a turn for the worst when he sees the same cashier in the sneaker line. Racial tensions among the sneakerheads intensify and Ronny's fear of not getting his beloved sneakers is quickly replaced with the fear that he and Justine are in serious danger.

HYPEBEASTS is a tense, dramatic story that does not shy away from using comedy to cast an unrelenting eye on the uncomfortable issues of racism, consumerism, and capitalism in America.