Eight of the world’s best pro-skateboarders prepare for the upcoming Street League Championship in NYC. Each equally talented, they all must overcome unique challenges—family pressures, injuries, money, fame and their own internal struggles—for a chance to win $200,000 and the title of best street skater in the world.
The Motivation is a non-fiction sports film from internationally acclaimed filmmaker Adam Bhala Lough (The Carter, Bomb the System) featuring the biggest names in professional skateboarding.
The world premiere of The Motivation is tonight at 9:30 at the prestigious TriBeCa film festival. Showtimes will continue through Friday and Saturday. The Motivation will also screen at the Newport beach film fest May 1st at 7:30.
The Motivation features:
With the 2011 title, Malto’s just signed a new deal with Nike and as skate legend Steve Berra says of his newfound position at the top, “Nike is about putting people on the podium.” Malto plays it cool, but the pressure is on.
Ready to take Malto’s ring is the most dominant street skateboarder of the last few years. It’s a bit of a coming out party for Nyjah and his mom, not too far removed from the family drama that saw his sponsors disappear, a hiatus from competitive skateboarding, and just ended with his mom battling in court to win Nyjah’s custody back. “Nyjah’s dad pretty much shaped Nyjah into this nonstop skateboard machine from the age of 4,” says Collin Kennedy, and with that came a controlling force that forbade friends, girls and even school.
Skateboarding’s Michael Jordan, the highest paid street skater in the world, Paul uses Christ and the inspiration of his daughter Heaven to guide him mentally. Paul surrounds himself with the best skaters in the world at late night training sessions where he tirelessly works to perfect his tricks.
The OC heartthrob star of MTV’s “Life of Ryan” was once the youngest X Games Gold Medalist ever at age 13, but hasn’t won a major contest in a minute and hears complaints of being “washed up.” Juggling the hardship of his parents’ divorce, endorsement obligations, and the rigors of training, nothing would mean more than to raise that trophy, for both Ryan and his brash, passionate dad.
The oldest and undoubtedly most respected of the bunch is the Philly legend, a bleary-eyed father of two, with his loving and supportive wife/manager Red. Chris has tools to win but, juggling being a dad and dealing with constant body aches, does he have enough gas left in the tank to pull it off?
Dyrdek claims Chaz will be a top-tier skateboarder “for the next 15 years.” Ironically we find Ortiz in role of mentor at the luxurious Woodward camp in Pennsylvania, where he trains. While he has the adoration of the six and seven year-olds he’s teaching, he’s more concerned about the possible $200k in prize money and the respect of his peers.
Finally, we see the artistry of the Brazilian boy wonder, and the awe his peers have for him. The kid from the favelas was raised in poverty by his grandparents and friends and says, with a heavy heart, if it weren’t for skateboarding he’d be “either dealing drugs or dead.”
The unpredictable Frenchman, a former prodigy turned respected veteran, proves a crowd favorite as he animates the contest.
Dyrdek invested his love, sweat and savings into his dream contest, and has more to lose, mentally and financially, than the competitors vying for the trophy. Nothing like Street League has existed in skateboarding before, but as Steve Berra tells us, “there’s no guarantee this is going to work,” and the last thing Dyrdek can stomach is to “fail at his dream.”
When the training is done, the skaters head to NYC to the nationally-televised Championships in Newark’s Prudential Center. Teens, hipsters, and parents with their kids mix with Lil Wayne, as the arena fills up and the eyes of the skate world center on the eight competitors in the SLS Championship.