Held in January in Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah, as well as at the Sundance Resort, the Sundance Film Festival is a showcase for new work from American and international independent filmmakers. Former RVC student, Bing Liu, was chosen to world premiere his documentary, “Minding the Gap” — a documentary that follows Rockford skateboarders Zack Mulligan and Keire Johnson as they introduce a baby to their lives and find reprieve from their family through skateboarding.
“(The festival) was a filmmaker’s dream come true. I never envisioned myself having a film (much less being a part of a second project, America to Me), at Sundance. But the best and most memorable parts were seeing my cast and team experience it and connecting with audiences at screenings.”
Liu’s film was listed as IndieWire’s most anticipated movies to premiere at Sundance and earned the Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Filmmaking. It’s his hope that his film eventually reaches its intended audience: lost and confused adolescents. “Hopefully it speaks to young people,” Liu said. “I feel like they aren’t given a lot of opportunities for them to be spoken to in film. Hopefully they’ll feel less alone.”
Liu graduated from Rock Valley College in 2008. “I took every sociology class I could get my hands on (at RVC). The sociology of family and sociology of race classes were particularly helpful in getting my head wrapped around a framework of how larger forces can affect individuals. Of course I also took a lot of mass communications courses with Brian Shelton, Shawndra Bateson, and Jerry LaBuy. I was astonished by how much equipment and support the department had, even back in 2007.” While attending RVC, he attributes some of his inspiration in filmmaking to Professor Kramer. “I interviewed my philosophy professor, Mr. Kramer, in 2008 for an experimental video that ended up winning the first ever jury’s choice award at the inaugural Mosaic Film Festival. In the film he says that we live this very short, 70-year life on earth but it can feel meaningless if this is all there is. I think that really stuck with me and made me want to make the most of it.”
Liu went on to the University of Illinois at Chicago where he earned his Bachelor’s of Arts degree in English Literature.
After graduation, Liu worked on commercials in the Chicago area as well as hit television shows such as “Chicago PD,” “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago Med,” “Divergent,” and “Jupiter Ascending.” He also worked on cinematography for “All the Queen’s Horses,” the documentary about Rita Drundwell, former Dixon comptroller who embezzled millions. Liu is currently making another documentary. As for future plans, “I want to continue telling stories that I would’ve wanted to see when I was growing up trying to figure out myself and the world around me. I want to tell stories that challenge, inspire, and make a difference.”
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