Bing Liu started filming himself and his skater friends when they were teens; hanging out at skate parks, learning new tricks and mucking about.
Swoop, swerve, jump and glide through the hand-held wonders of Bing Liu’s Oscar®-Nominated film Minding the Gap. This documentary sees Bing put together a lifetime’s worth of footage about his three friends’ childhood in the American Rust Belt town of Rockford, Illinois.
Each having come from troubled homes, the three misfits find escape and solace in skateboarding together. The film follows them through every graze and tumble of their hard-knock lives, until some painful home truths emerge.Their stories become a symbol of an economically challenged society, stuck in a cycle of domestic abuse. The impact of violence on the boys, and the fact that things you love can hurt you the most becomes ever more clear.
Ultimately, Minding the Gap becomes a beautiful exploration of how the documentary can act as a tool and process of healing in itself. Each therapising themselves, some become trapped by context, whilst others use it as a springboard and keep on rolling no matter what.
This film started as a skate video, but turned into a film, as Liu became aware that his footage kept made his friends want to talk about their lives. Having grown up with a sense of loss caused by a violent step-father, Liu made the movie because his friend’s experiences resonated with his own. On top of an Academy Award nomination, Minding the Gap also won Best Documentary at Sheffield Doc/Fest and Sundance Film Festival.
Bing Liu moved from China to Alabama to California to Rockford, Illinois with his mother all before he was 8 years old. He honed his cinematography and editing skills making DIY skateboarding films as a teenager. When he was 19 he moved to Chicago and began freelancing as a grip whilst studying literature. At 23, he working in the camera department on fiction films and episodic television series. Minding the Gap is Liu’s debut feature film, which he began working on in 2014 as both director, cinematographer and co-editor.