For director and cinematographer Bing Liu, growing up in post-industrial Rockford, IL, was no picnic. As a teenager obsessed with skateboarding, he started filming two of his skater friends, and eventually himself, as they moved through a difficult adolescence in a hard-luck town. Over the course of years, Liu realized he had a powerful coming-of-age story on his hands. Liu tells KCRW’s Matt Holzman about following his friends and their fractured families--camera in hand--to make the Sundance award-winner ‘Minding the Gap,’ which is now available on Hulu.
FROM THIS EPISODE
- Hollywood is grappling with the next phase of the #TimesUp movement: deciding who gets to come back, and when.
- And studios are trying to figure out what to do with people like James Franco and Casey Affleck--who have new projects coming out and been accused of misconduct in the past, but on a lesser scale of someone like Harvey Weinstein or Kevin Spacey.
The new documentary ‘Minding the Gap’ starts as a look at two young skateboarders in Rockford, Illinois. Life is coming at Keire and Zack fast, and all they really want to do is skate.
The film checks in with the boys from time to time, and as the years go by, we learn fun-loving Zack is about to be a dad, but he’s still grappling with his own difficult childhood.
Keire, the only African-American in his friend group, is just beginning to talk about his racial identity and his own troubled youth with an abusive father.
The director of ‘Minding the Gap’ is Bing Liu, himself a skateboarder from Rockford and a professional cameraman with more than 40 TV and movie credits.
‘Minding the Gap’ began as a skateboarding film that Liu started making when he was a teenager, though he had no idea what it would eventually become: a feature-length Sundance award-winner co-produced by documentary icon Steve James.
The film uses 12 years worth of verite footage to tell the story of 3 young men--Zack, Keier, and Liu himself, each coming of age in the shadow of abuse.
Liu recently sat down with KCRW’s Matt Holzman. They talked about Liu’s early days filming skate videos, why he decided to follow Zack and Keire over the years, and Liu’s decision to ultimately include himself in his film.
Keire Johnson, Bing Liu, and Zack Mulligan in a still from Bing Liu’s MINDING THE GAP. Courtesy of Hulu.
Bing Liu, director of the film “Minding the Gap”
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