Optimus editor Rynne helps create a Nike female force

Elizabeth De La Piedra in Nike's "Force is Female" video

Elizabeth De La Piedra in Nike’s “Force is Female” video

Lucasfilm CEO Kathleen Kennedy first came out with the shirt that said, “The Force is Female” last year, thrusting her into the SJW (Social Justice Warrior) spotlight.

Now, Nike Chicago is supporting her and other women with a series of inspiring vignettes specifically created for Nike Chicago’s Instagram account by Director/DP Hannah Welever and editor Lindsay Rynne, along with an entire team of dynamic women.

Well, the mixer is a dude, Zach Scheitlin.

Using the launch of the new and iconic Air Force 1, which was originally created for the basketball court but has found its way into street culture and global fashion glory, the Instagram videos focus on four diverse and strong Chicago female social influencers.

Each video uses the hidden textures and shadows uniquely Chicago to paint an intimate portrait of each woman. Welever told The Reel, “Working with Nike on this project was one of the coolest opportunities I’ve had thus far as a director/DP. I got to put an amazing team of collaborators together to document these four uniquely talented women.”

There’s musical artist Rayven Lenae, who is an R&B singer and songwriter from Chicago currently signed to Atlantic Records and the Three Twenty-Three Music Group. Set against Chicago’s gritty urban backdrop, a confident Lenae claims she likes to use music to inspire others to find their force. “The Force is Female resembles all the powerful women in my life who have inspired me along my journey.”



A second vignette features Nike athlete and Chicago Red Stars defender, Casey Short, who discovered her own inner force through sport. Welever captures Short on her own turf – literally – as the athlete discusses not being held back on various soccer fields around Chicago.

“It’s about pushing the boundaries and breaking limits and inspiring not only your industry, but the world. Playing soccer has not only helped me find a physical capacity within myself, but it has transformed my entire way of thinking.”



For photographer Peru-born Elizabeth De La Piedra, the FORCE represents fearless and strong women who paved their own way, shaping culture, demanding respect and inspiring communities. “It’s important for me to give a voice for those that don’t have it. That’s what I feel my role in the world is, to use my skills to create something that moves people.” Her video is a deftly edited collage of her photographs and her life in Air Force 1s.



The fourth video features entrepreneur and founder of KNC Beauty, Kristen Noel Crawley. Crawley, who is also a jewelry designer, gallery owner, and mogul in the making, says her FORCE is her creative drive that allows her to push the boundaries, inspire and move forward. “I’m thankful for growing up in Chicago because it’s where I first developed my creativity and found the strength to be fearless.”



According to director Welever the five-day project was a labor of love, style and the complexities of femininity & creativity in Chicago. “This project was a compilation of a lot of ideas I had been wanting to experiment with, along with a big list of collaborators I had wanted to get in the same room.”

Welever depended on editor Rynne to cut as she was shooting, except in the case of Crawley who was edited by Optimus editor Ariana De Simone.

“I would say we spent over 200 hours in post. We took a quick break during the holidays then got the videos into color and mix right after,” Rynne told The Reel, adding, “The force is female is the fiercely driven passion I see within all of my female peers.’

2017 was a defining year for feminism and female empowerment seems likely to continue in 2018 and beyond. Nike, since its beginnings, has always been an overt supporter of women and girls. In sports and beyond. So, it’s exciting (and somewhat expected) to see the brand take a decisive step in making sure their voices are heard loud and clear.

The female force production team has something to be proud of with each video as the unique palette of colors, editing and graphics transformed each vignette into its own love letter to Chicago and not just women.

But human beings.

All four video are now posted on Nike Chicago’s Instagram account.

   Hannah Welever, Director/DP
   Ramone Hulet, Producer
   Zoe Rain – Photographer
   Hannah Ward – 1st AD
   Grace Hahn – Production Manager
   Mawie Talion – Gaffer
   Ashley Petrie – Gaffer
   Nina Portillo – Operator
   Ashley Battle – 1st AC
   Nichole Harmon – AC
   Ashley Thompson – DIT
   Coco Wallace – Sound
   Abby Young – Sound
   Jess Monzalvo – Makeup Artist
   Mollie Gloss – Makeup Artist
   Lea Lloyd – Hair Stylist
   Erin Graham – Hair Stylist
   BeBe Jones – Wardrop Stylist
   Sal Yvat – Set Decorator
   Stacey Mitchell – PA
   Elena Baj – PA

   Lindsay Rynne, Editor (Optimus)
   Ariana De Simone, Assistant Editor (Optimus)
   Katie Schade, Designer (Optimus)
   Zach Scheitlin, Mixer (Optimus)
   Lindsey A. Mazur, Colorist (The Mill)

Contact Colin Costello at colin@reelchicago.com or follow him on Twitter @colincostello10.