Less than a week after its sold-out world premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, Minding the Gap by Bing Liu won the US Documentary Competition Jury Award for Breakthrough Filmmaking last night at the fest's official award ceremonies in Park City.
US Documentary Competition Juror Barbara Chai presented the award, saying:
"We are so exited to celebrate this extraordinary documentary for its vivacity and freshness of spirit, its unexpected revelation of personal detail, and dazzling, un-choreographed sequences that possess the athleticism and grace of ballet."
The emotional world premiere of Minding the Gap was attended by film subjects Keire Johnson, Zack Mulligan, Kent Abernathy and Mengyue Bolen. Earning an uproarious standing ovation inside the theater, immediate reactions from social media and from critics were very strong, and by the end of the festival the film was enjoying prominence as the best reviewed film of Sundance 2018.
Praise for Minding the Gap:
“A few bold-faced names to watch come out of every Sundance, and here’s a major one: Bing Liu, who directed, co-edited, co-produced, shot, and co-stars in this (often uncomfortably) intimate documentary… Liu has a gift for montage and a confident way with his camera, and the emotional heft of this debut is quietly overwhelming.”
– Jason Bailey, Flavorwire - The Best Documentaries of the 2018 Sundance Film Festival
"Incredibly powerful...the work of a filmmaker willing to acknowledge that sometimes, seeing better, seeing differently, is more important than understanding."
– Bilge Ebiri, The Village Voice
“Bing Liu's impressive documentary feature debut is a revealing look at skateboarding and toxic masculinity…. Marks an audacious feature debut on all levels…This edition
of the festival has marked him as a storyteller to watch."
– Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter
"This year's Sundance may well be defined by the host of innovative ways filmmakers found to tell personal stories...the most touching of these self-reflexive projects was Bing Liu's intimate look at a pair of childhood friends he's been filming for nearly a decade."
– Peter Debruge, Variety
"Often troubling and deeply moving, a story about the ways that generational violence and poverty affect families and cities...as a work of nonfiction, it's stunning; as a piece of storytelling, it's heartbreaking."
– Alissa Wilkinson, Vox.com: 7 Sundance documentaries to watch for in 2018
"Powerful and intimate...a tour de force of documentary filmmaking."
–John Fink, The Film Stage
“‘Burden' and 'Minding the Gap' are among the best movies coming out of Park City… Bing Liu’s deeply felt look at himself and his skateboarding pals, Zack and Keire, is an intense story about the repeating cycle of domestic violence in a depressed town. Liu’s camerawork and editing are amazing.” ★★★★
– Sean Means, The Salt Lake Tribune
“What starts as a movie about slackers lighting off fireworks and drinking beers on rooftops becomes a nuanced, carefully modulated study of domestic abuse,
particularly the way violence cycles through generations of family members. It's a thoughtful film about race and class, too.”
– Dan Jackson, Thrillist: The Best Movies from Sundance 2018
“Bing Liu not only has an excellent eye but deeper ambitions… There’s something deeply resonant in the way Liu captures a time when young men are both child and adult, especially if they have open wounds from their difficult youth that may have stunted their maturity… Minding the Gap is a film about modern millennial masculinity in a way that breaks the stereotypes and asks us to confront not only cycles of abuse but how they shape both the memories we want to suppress and the friendships we never want to forget at the same time.”
– Brian Tallerico, Roger Ebert.com
"A lyrical skateboard ballet when it wants to be and critical introspection amidst the tumult of family and friendship when it absolutely has to be."
– IndieWire, Sundance 2018: The 12 Best Movies of this Year's Festival
"If we are lucky, you’ll be reading more about and even seeing movies like 'Skate Kitchen,' from Crystal Moselle, a dreamy female friendship movie about teenage girl skateboarders in New York, which would work on a double bill with the affecting documentary 'Minding the Gap,' directed by Bing Liu, who follows a troika of skateboarders into manhood in Rockford, IL."
– Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
Minding the Gap is a Kartemquin Films, ITVS and American Documentary I POV production. The film is edited by Joshua Altman and Bing Liu; with original music by Nathan Halpern and Chris Ruggiero; cinematography by Bing Liu; executive produced by Sally Jo Fifer, Justine Nagan, Chris White, Gordon Quinn, Steve James and Betsy Steinberg; produced by Diane Quon and Bing Liu; directed by Bing Liu.
Coming up, Minding the Gap has its Montana Premiere at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival on February 23rd. Find details here.