follow your interest to success

A Short Film by Cineastas: Mike Friton, “The Innovator”

Cineastas granted me permission to embed their video, “The Innovator,” on my blog: Intrinsic Lifestyle.  I’m thrilled to include it here as it exemplifies not only the skill in filmmaking I aspire to, but it’s a perfect example of self-directed learning.

Taken from Vimeo:  “Mike Friton is a freelance shoemaker, weaver, paper sculptor and innovator with over 30 years of experience at Nike. His innovations are responsible for many elements of athletic footwear… Each of his crafts informs one another and he is constantly exploring the fringes of his field. Mike’s work is a great example of how non-traditional methods of exploring one’s craft can lead to unique end results. To find out more about Mike and his work visit or @mikefriton.”


Cineasta // n. // Spanish

Cineastas is a video production company located in Portland, OR. They work with small businesses, artisans and organizations to tell their stories.

External Links

Website –

Qualitative Analysis of the Learning

I’ve watched “The Innovator” many times.  In my opinion, the making of the film is as unique as the subject in it.  But now I’m putting my educator-cap on to illuminate what I think the subject in the movie has learned.  Hands down.  Mike Friton is a brilliant example of a person driven to get knowledge on his own.

From Friton’s history, we discovered how his self-directed interests were the reason for his prosperous career working for Nike for thirty years on a team he helped create.  Later, he eventually started his own shoe design business.

In the film, Friton explains how one thing lead to the next.  His interest in track lead him to a team at Oregon University.  A particular running event in which his shoes became waterlogged became a reason for him to design a shoe which wouldn’t hold water.  Here are a few of things I think Friton has learned.  (If you discover others after watching the film, please comment.)

Mike’s understanding of the scientific properties of materials such as:  leather, nylon, plastic, felt, rope, plaster, paper, fibers to name a few I observed in the film was clear.  But even more noteworthy was his mixing of materials to design a custom shoe, a manufactured product.

Next, I’d like to note his awareness and knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the foot, structural engineering, physics, geometry, sculpture, origami, drafting, drawing, sewing and weaving.

Of course he’s since learned how to run a business.  From that I’ve concluded he’s had to master his executive function skills as well as:  accounting, ordering, managing, copyright, distribution, marketing and so forth.

In the film Friton stated that:  “without innovation, we’d be extinct.” Another way of stating that: without self-directed learning, we’d be stunted and very bored people.

What else do you think Friton taught himself?  And isn’t this short-doc fabulously crafted?

3 Responses to “A Short Film by Cineastas: Mike Friton, “The Innovator””

  1. Kay Rodriques

    Hey, Kristen. Yes, the documentary is extremely well crafted. I enjoyed it and it certainly didn’t seem like the work of an amateur. Is the videographer (is that even a word?) a professional?

    • Kristin

      Hi Kay,

      Glad you liked the film. Here is more information about the video production co. Cineastas below and I will add it to the post as well.

      Yes, they are definitely a professional crew; and their other projects are on Vimeo or at their website. See link above.

      Cineasta // n. // Spanish

      Cineastas is a video production company located in Portland, OR. They work with small businesses, artisans and organizations to tell their stories.

      Website –


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