ATO 'Monster' by Zhang + Knight

ATO 'Monster' by Zhang + Knight
  • By David Knight
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Zhang + Knight launched their music video directing career with a video for London-based rapper ATO. Now they reunite with this ambitious epic that spans generations, takes us from English countryside to the city and back, and explores the idea of identity through a combination of myth and cold reality.

It starts on Dartmoor, with a boy discovering the giant stone head of an ancient black English king buried under the moor. The discovery comes to define his whole identity, as the legend of the king grows.

But as the boy grows into a man, and becomes ATO, he comes to realise that his recollections of the stone head actually stem from his childish imagination. His biggest discovery is really about himself.


From the director


“Most portrayals of black British people draw upon a very singular experience. It’s tower blocks and concrete, and almost entirely limited to London. Ato is one of our dearest friends and spoke candidly with us about the loneliness of growing up black in the Yorkshire countryside. So we wanted for Ato to have a childhood companion - a mythic English hero - as a comforting but ultimately imaginary presence.

“Making Monster really reminded us both why we love doing this. Everyone said that this production was straight up crazy with our shoestring budget, but we were very very lucky to have such passionate and talented collaborators. You know that it’s a labour of love when the art director’s mum is painting historical tableaus and your dad is printing them onto rotting bits of plywood from a skip. We’re so proud to have made this with such wonderful people.”


Zhang + Knight
Martha McGuirk
Production Company
Executive Producer
Luke Tierney
Production Manager
Alex Jefferson
1st AD
Tom Lancaster
Director of Photography
Ruben Woodin-Dechamps
Focus Puller
Rich Savage
2nd AC
Francesca Zucchini
Peter Bishop
Art Director
Zoe Klinck
Ellie Johnson
Editing company
Daniel de Vue
Grading company
Post production company
Post Producer
Victoria Waterhouse-taylor
Special Thanks

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