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TIFF Next Wave Review: ‘Minding the Gap’

February 15, 2019Ferdosa Abdi

Minding The Gap explores the impact skateboarding has had on the life of filmmaker Bing Liu, as well as the lives of his friends, Zack Mulligan and Kiere Johnson.

Filmed over the course of a decade, the documentary follows these three young men and their shared love of skateboarding. At some point, one of the boys (Liu) begins filming their exploits. As the boys grow into stronger and better skateboarders, Liu's filmmaking skills evolve with them. Skateboarding is not just a hobby for these young men — it's a lifeline — and as Liu documents, we begin to unravel their dependency on the sport and how through it they could free themselves from the burdens of life.

Liu not only documents the importance of their shared love of skateboarding but also their hardships and the various paths their lives have taken them. Yet, as the men recount bleak details, Liu is adamant about never judging them. As the film progresses, what begins as a project celebrating the unifying nature of the skate world becomes a deeply moving look at race, class, abuse and manhood, all seen through the eyes of these young men.

Minding the Gap screens Sunday, February 17th at TIFF Next Wave. Its runtime is 1 hr. 33 min.

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