TOM Gould Directs Timberland 50th Anniversary Documentary

29 October 2023

Director Tom Gould, directs the latest brand storytelling documentary for Timberland’s 50th anniversary.

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The film unravels the narrative of The Original Timberland® Boot's evolution over five decades. Tom Gould brings forth the boot's journey, from its humble beginnings as a ground-breaking waterproof leather work boot in 1973 to its adoption by the hip-hop scene in New York City and its influence across fashion capitals like Milan, London, and Tokyo.

The story of Timberland is 50 years in the making, and the film digs deep into the archives of the brand. Gould comments on the impact of the brand, "This is a film about a boot and a brand, but it is told by the people who championed it and made it known and relevant throughout the world. Having these icons within fashion, music and pop-culture tell the story from the heart - is what makes the film authentic.”

“One aspect of the story I wanted to make sure was felt throughout the film, was the theme of family. This was a brand created by a family who immigrated to America in search of the “American Dream” and was passed down through generations. With this boot becoming so loved by people throughout the world, a family of sorts has been formed by these people and communities and this is what carries the brand forward to this day.”

The scale of this production was vast, weaving together interviews with an array of cultural icons, including Jeff Staple, Angie Martinez, Ronnie Fieg, ASAP Ferg, Rakim, and Fat Joe along with rare archival footage featuring founder Nathan Swartz's son and grandson Jeffrey. Gould manages to keep the visuals fresh and interesting throughout - an impressive feat considering the large number of talent, countries and locations involved.

Tom Gould, expresses his personal connection to Timberland, saying,

"I've been obsessed with Timberland from a young age, so being asked to direct this film celebrating 50 years of the brand was truly surreal."

He relished the opportunity to connect with cultural icons and to weave their stories into an engaging narrative that traces the Yellow Boot's journey from its earliest days to the present. "From growing up with the brand from an early age, it was a story that meant a lot to me and one I wanted to do justice. My thought process behind the film was to treat it like a 50th Birthday speech, where everyone in the room gets their chance to stand up and tell their stories relating to this boot and brand that has meant so much to them over the years."

Susie Mulder, Global Brand President for Timberland, remarks, "We've always known the Yellow Boot was special. But this film reminds me, and now the world, of its bold and remarkable 50-year journey—from its breakthrough innovation to the deep cultural connections that made it the icon it is today. This is clearly more than a boot, and Tom Gould has captured that beautifully in this film, through the voices of the communities who made it their own."

"This is Not a Boot: The Story of an Icon" premiered in October with screenings in New York, London, Milan, and Shanghai, followed by a global digital release.

Watch the whole film here.