The Motivation is a new documentary that follows eight of the world's best skateboarders — including Paul Rodriguez, Nyjah Huston, and Chris Cole — as they compete in a pressure-filled season of Street League. The film is the brainchild of acclaimed director Adam Bhala Lough, who also helmed the Lil Wayne doc The Carter and The Upsetter: The Life and Music of Lee "Scratch" Perry. We caught up with Lough to find out what drew him to skateboarding, how he got the skaters to open up, and which one he most identifies with.
What inspired you to make a film about a skateboard contest?
I was watching TV and saw the contest on ESPN and recognized some of the skaters. The course was immaculate and the production was great. It immediately caught my attention so I started doing some research. Steve Berra is a friend of mine so I got in contact with him and that was the start of the project.
What was the most challenging aspect of making the film?
The most challenging part of making the film was getting beneath the surface of who the eight skaters are as people. My focus was to show them and tell their stories, not to make a film that was only about the contest. With the help of Rob [Dyrdek, Street League's founder] and Steve I was able to personally connect with all of the skaters.
How will viewers who aren't very knowledgeable about skateboarding relate to the film?
I think they'll relate because it's a film about people and their struggles. It's about a group of people who are each trying to accomplish their goals and to be the best. That's something that everyone can identify with.
Besides the competition what are some of the most unique challenges the skaters face?
I think Chris Cole has the most unique challenges to deal with, and I can relate to them. He's in his 30's which makes him the oldest competitor in the Street League. He runs multiple businesses while having a wife and two kids, so for him its a struggle to find time to skate as opposed to someone like Nyjah Huston who skates everyday.
Overall, what do you want people to take away from this film?
I really want people to learn from the guys in the film. How to overcome struggles in life. I want the film to inspire young kids to skate and to push themselves to the point where they are trying to win Street League one day. I want this film to inspire kids to skate the same way Michael Jordan inspired me and whole generation to play basketball and strive for greatness.