Minding the Gap (Hulu/PBS)
In Minding the Gap, director Bing Liu pulls off a remarkable feat of cinematic sleight of hand. What at first appears to be a film celebrating the joys of skateboarding turns into a deeply emotional journey of three young men—Keire, Zack, and the filmmaker himself—coming of age in a Rust Belt city. Keire has scratched the phrase “This device cures heartache” into his board, and it’s not teenage hyperbole. Following the subjects for nearly a decade, Minding the Gap explores the heartache, abuse, and intergenerational cycles of physical and emotional violence each of them has faced. They appear to be just barely stumbling through life, with no tools and guidance beyond their camaraderie, and the skateboarding that allows them to fly, just a little. Their masks of bravado and toxic masculinity hide a vulnerability that is captured with deep sensitivity. The falls and asphalt burns, the tricks expertly executed, and the boards smashed in frustration all serve as physical metaphors for survival and endurance. Through a patient, observational lens and devastating interviews, Minding the Gap lays bare the pain and eventual hope these young men will endure despite the challenges they face. For its honest, heartfelt presentation of the transition from boyhood to manhood, Minding the Gap wins a Peabody Award.
Produced by: Diane Quon, Bing Liu. Directed by: Bing Liu. Executive Producers: Gordon Quinn, Steve James, Betsy Steinberg, Sally Jo Fifer, Justine Nagan, Chris White. Edited by: Joshua Altman, Bing Liu. Cinematography by: Bing Liu. Original Music by: Nathan Halpern, Chris Ruggiero. Supervising Producer for ITVS: Michael Kinomoto. Consulting Producer for Kartemquin Films: Maggie Bowman.