Hidden traumas bonded these three friends in Oscar-nominated “Minding the Gap”


In the Oscar-nominated documentary film “Minding the Gap,” director Bing Liu explores how the way men define masculinity, even subconsciously, plays a crucial role in how they process abuse and trauma in all stages of life.

The film, which follows three skateboarding friends over the course of 12 years including Liu himself, tackles concepts that men rarely open up about like friendship, abuse and trauma. Liu joined Salon’s D. Watkins to discuss the success of the film, like its inclusion in Barack Obama’s favorite films of 2018, and the importance of acknowledging how toxic masculinity plays a role in suppressing traumatic events.

Liu noted that during the production of the film, he started to see a therapist because he felt like he was “being the therapist for everybody else.” He said, “I needed someone to vent to. Eventually I got to a point where I showed my therapist a rough cut of the film.”

“It helped me in a clinical setting to talk about those two other guys and the things that they were sharing with me. It helped me get some structural thinking around what they were going through so that I could tell their stories better.”

Watch the video above to learn how all three subjects, including Liu, learned more about themselves when being interviewed in “Minding the Gap.” And watch the full episode to hear how Liu used the production of the film to cope with his own abuse and trauma.


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Hosted by Salon journalists, “Salon Talks” episodes offer a fresh take on the long-form interview format, and a much-needed break from the partisan political talking heads that have come to dominate the genre. “Salon Talks” is a destination for information through conversation. Viewers can expect discussions with A-list actors, artists, authors, thinkers, and newsmakers as we explore the full range of the human condition. The show streams live on Facebook and Twitter and each episode is published in full on Salon.com.


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