Drake once said “started from the bottom now we here” and Clayton Vila’s “Finding Monsters,” takes the idea to devilish new highs and lows as it explores the emotional stories of real Monster athletes Lizzie Armanto (skateboard), Taka Higashino (motocross), and Clayton Vila himself (freeski). The inspiration, Vila says, “came from conversations with my mother about how she handled my innate daredevil nature when I was young. These conversations made me wonder how many other athletes on Monster Energy’s roster were in a similar situation. I became fascinated by Taka and Lizzie’s stories. Both had completely different circumstances, but we shared similar challenges, because our environments weren’t conducive to our ambitions.”
Lizzie Armanto, the 28 year old Santa Monica native and one of the first major female skateboarders, says “the biggest challenge for me was getting my parents to support my decision to stop going to college and pursue it full time. Being a female pro skateboarder able to make a living wasn’t really something that existed when I decided to make the jump to skating full time.” Taka Higashino defied the odds by becoming an icon of freestyle motocross during a time when the scene was nonexistent in Japan. He claimed X Games motocross freestyle gold and then two more consecutive X Games gold medals, a historic milestone.
Hailing from Block Island, New England, Clayton Vila discovered his own path by self-publishing freeski videos, which went viral globally, and his documentary “For Lack of Better” proved his abilities as a documentary filmmaker. “I hope the film inspires anyone who is in the difficult situation of raising a talented little daredevil to let them give it a shot. These days, with companies like Monster out there looking for the next big thing, the odds are more in a kid’s favor than ever before,” said Vila.
Also make sure to read the background story behind the making of “Finding Monsters” on the Monster Energy website, featuring exclusive commentary from all three featured athletes about their rise to the top.