Academy Award Nominee Bing Liu's advice for upcoming filmmakers

Mandy News spoke to Academy Award Nominee Bing Liu about his process of working on 'Minding The Gap' and advice for upcoming filmmakers on how to balance work 

4th March 2019
/ By James Collins

Bing Liu IMDB

How did you get involved in film?

When I was 14 or 15 I had my first camera I bought from working a dishwashing job.  I watched films and they inspired me to make films and I taught myself everything.  When I was 19 I got a job as a grip while studying literature at college.  I got a chance to work on a union picture so joined the union and tasted working with directors like the Bukowski Brothers and Spike Lee for a number of years.   All the while making my own self-funded DIY films.  I started 'Minding the gap' when I was 23 and I’m 30 now.

Tell us about the process on working on ‘Minding the Gap’

I was making a short film like the last two films I had done before.   I went around the country filming with multiple people and took that project into a fellowship with the company that made ‘Hoop Dreams’ and I stared changing course and thinking I wanted to do a feature film that was character driven, so I chose one of the people form the ensemble I had been working on and one of his friends and their stories unfolded in a way that was stranger than fiction.  

I was applying for funding and grants while making it but we didn’t really get anything until the beginning of 2017 which helped us finish the film. 

How did you balance working on your own films and other productions?

I had done camera work on other people’s films and studio productions.  In 2015 I directed 3 stories on ‘America to Me’ which made it to Sundance and was bought by STARS but I was always balancing the whole thing. 

You shot, edited and directed ‘Minding the Gap’, how did you deal with taking on so many roles?

There was no point where production ended and editing started, I was editing from the beginning.  I have always worked as a one man band. As a teenager I would make a half hour skate movie, edit it, make the DVD and host a premier. When I started working on ‘America to me’ and hiring a finishing editor and my producer Dianne Weyermann on my project, I think I had to learn how to work and manage a team. Directing that show really helped as part of the transition.

What are you working on next?

I’m working on a film about confronting the past to move forwards as it pertains to men who experience gun violence in Chicago.  It’s a feature documentary that is in post-production at the moment.

What advice do you have for up-and-coming filmmakers?

I did everything outside the system up until the final couple of years.  I would say choose projects that mean more to you than a career booster, things you would do no matter what.  It helps you get through the daily rejection if you do something that comes from your heart.