Bing Liu's film focuses on three young men, including the director, shadowed by abusive pasts
Three major pre-Oscar honors have been announced this week, and all three have awarded best documentary to different films.
Today it was the New York Film Critics Circle weighing in and the group chose Bing Liu's Minding the Gap as top doc of the year. Earlier in the week, the National Board of Review picked RBG as the year's best and Gotham Independent Film Awards hailed Hale County This Morning, This Evening.
Minding the Gap has won numerous awards, beginning at Sundance where it premiered last January. At the festival it earned a Special Grand Jury award for Breakthrough Filmmaking, honoring the story of three friends in Rockford, Illinois--Zack Mulligan, Kiere Johnson and Liu--who found in skateboarding an escape from abusive families.
In an interview with Nonfictionfilm.com, Liu explained the appeal of boarding.
"I think it comes down to it literally being a coping mechanism. And it gives a sense of purpose and control. When you live in a household where you could do the right thing or the wrong thing but the wrong thing might still happen, you don't have a sense of causality. And with skateboarding if you fall and you feel pain at least it makes sense," he laughed. "So in a way you learn to control your pain and by extension sometimes you can learn some sense of volition outside of skateboarding too and you can have a sense of control over your life."
Minding the Gap plays at the Calgary Underground Film Festival on Friday (November 30) at 9:45pm. It is also streaming on Hulu.
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.