When “Boyhood” was released a few years back it was considered revolutionary because it was filmed over an extended period of time. Well, clearly Bing Liu took that premise a step further and concentrated his documentary Minding The Gap around the lives of his two friends Zack , Kiere while turning the camera on himself. I had the pleasure of screening the film alongside Bing at the AFI DOCS film festival in Washington, D.C. I quietly observed the filmmaker still being uncomfortable when the lens is turned on him. It broke my heart…literally.
As kids we often go through life without a care in the world. Our biggest concern is where, what time and whom we are going to play with that day. Minding The Gap focuses on how all three of its subjects use skateboarding as an escape for the real issues plaguing their lives like parenthood, death and abuse.
Your heart breaks for Zack. He’s handsome, seemingly confident and has little to no patience for bullies. However, parenthood brings about a reality that he is neither mentally or emotionally prepared for. You are left wondering what will become of Zack and how his actions will ultimately affect his son, Elliott.
Kiere clearly struggles with being a black man in an environment that is mostly composed of people who don’t look like him and coming to terms with the death of his Dad. Ironically, as he grows older the discovery that remaining in Rockford, Illinois becomes unbearable and a change is clearly imminent.
It’s hard to be a young person in the world we navigate in nowadays. But, Bing Liu sheds a realistic light on what the reality of that situation is in Rockford, Illinois. Imagine what it must be like for kids growing up all across the country. Clearly, it’s not easy by any stretch of the imagination.
Minding The Gap marks the Liu’s directorial debut. Making its world premiere earlier this year at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, the film won the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Filmmaking.
Minding The Gap is real, raw, emotional rollercoaster ride through the awkwardness of adolescence and totally worth viewing when it debuts on Hulu on August 17th.