Chris Francis is equal parts artist and designer. His extraordinary shoes made from found materials have been featured in magazines like Vogue and have also been presented as objets d’art in major museums. This short documentary Chris Francis: Shoes provides a snapshot of the year following his first museum exhibition at Craft Contemporary in Los Angeles and on to a major footwear convention where he feels pressure to reconcile his two identities.
For quite some time Chris and I talked about a film about his childhood in Kokomo Indiana, growing up among the relics of the steel factories.However, after several years of not being in touch with Chris he invited me to his small shoe making studio, at the time in DT LA. When I saw the space, filled with his shoes, drawings of his shoes, old machinery used to make his shoes, and listened to him speak about his views and process of making his shoes. I knew then that this was the film I was going to make about Chris.
Naturally its not easy to be the subject of a film, especially when one has extreme social anxieties from which Chris suffers. However it is Chris’great testimony to courage that he is able to overcome and convey his authentic self and true nature.As a film maker, I am thrilled to have such a subject be so open. But more importantly, as a friend of Chris’ and knowing him the way I do, I am most proud that he set aside his extreme unease with being in front of the camera and share himself with all of us.