BING LIU

The Get Born Girls sat down with Chicago filmer Bing Liu to talk about his skate documentary Look at Me and his new work-in-progress, Ennui & Amour**.

For his first skate documentary Look At Me, Bing focused on filmers themselves, creating a crazy inversion of art unto itself that explores the drive of the observer to capture a moment in time. For his new project, Ennui & Amour, Bing has been gathering clips of honest and humbling conversations he’s had with different skaters he’s crossed paths with. Asking questions like “What is your relationship with your father like?” and “Have you ever been in love?” Bing brings a new, refreshing perspective to the industry. Bing has been an amazing help to us and we have learned a lot from him. What he is doing is a huge inspiration, but he says it hasn’t been easy.

“I mean, interviewing is definitely an art. If they don’t trust me, they don’t trust me, you know? Sometimes its not my fault; sometimes its just their own inner issues.

When I am asking these questions, A lot of the time I feel like its too much. I feel like a sponge and I need to wring myself out somehow. At first it was like ‘This is what a therapist feels like.’ Now, I’m like ‘You know what, this is not something you have to respond to.’ These are just people’s lives and I should not feel any responsibility for their sadness or their suffering.”

Bing got into filming at the age of fourteen. By the time he was nineteen, he got all bummed out on filming and decided to sell his camera. Eventually he was able to realize and accept his identity as an observer and a question asker and he came back to it. After what he went through, Bing felt the need to give other kids like him a voice and something to look up to with his film Look at Me.

“A big part of why I made [Look At Me] was because I felt like what filmers in general were doing was capturing a week’s worth of footage and making this fiction out of it. And I was thinking about what little kids see when they grow up; if you’re a skateboarder you’re hard pressed for a role model. Right now, the main media outlets are glorified partying, which is like Deathwish, Shakejunt or this grandiose, ESPN, street league, Rob Dyrdeck kind-of-thing, which is very athletic. But, beyond that, there’s no substance there.”

For his next project, Bing has decided to delve deeper into the unspoken underbelly of skateboard culture. He let Get Born watch what he had put together thus far, and we were in awe. We had never seen anything like it before.

“There’s nobody asking pro skateboarders “Have you ever been in love? What’s it like to be lonely? What was your childhood like? What’s your relationship with your mom like?” To me, that’s really important.”

For the title, he’s chosen two french words that express the major themes that stuck out to him in the interviews: Ennui, meaning boredom, and Amour, meaning love.

“A lot of kids grow up and they don’t know what to do and they get stuck in a rut and they feel unhappy or they feel lonely or lost and they do outlandish things; they act a fool. I have all this footage from this one night when the Heist ramp used to exist and people were just throwing bottles at the wall for like three hours straight, ripping art off the wall and just smashing it. Like twenty dudes in this room just going at it for three hours. It was just surreal. To me, thats part of ennui, just as much as the kid who’s really depressed from his situation at home.

The other thing is, when I talk to skateboarders about love, they’re all so confused about it. They all have different experiences with relationships. A lot of them are mature enough to know that they’re too young to really know what it is, which is interesting… some of them are honest and a lot of them don’t open up.”

The Get Born Girls are so stoked on Bing because his work is so genuine. A lot of skaters may be uncomfortable with what he asks, but he does it anyway because he feels it is important. He isn’t making his films to impress anyone or make a bunch of money; he’s doing it for the love. Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in all the bullshit, but Bing always keeps it real.

“One key to happiness is doing something not for money, at all. Everyone has to have something in their life where they do it just for the love. I know I’m not trying to make a living making documentaries and writing poetry. I’m just doing it because I feel I need to. I feel like I have to contribute, probably just like you guys. There’s other ways of selling out, not just for money. Like trying to make this video and having in the back of my mind ‘Oh this person would say this about this, this person would not like this part.’”

That’s why Get Born is dedicated to supporting the local homies. When you support local you can find real, honest skateboarding. For example, Bing compared Chicago to Los Angeles.

“The reason why people have always moved to L.A. is for fame. Back in the 1800s, people moved out there for either gold, or to settle land because they’re lustful for property. People move there from small towns to try to get out there and make it. If you’re in L.A. and you don’t have fame, you’re nothing. If you’re in Chicago and have no fame, you’re still accepted. People out here are skateboarding for the love. That is one good thing about Chicago; it’s so authentic and genuine.”

True beauty is found in honesty. We appreciate Bings work because he is portraying raw human emotion, impacting a change on the way people perceive skateboarders in a genuine light. Life is too fucking short to do it any other way.

** Title has since been changed to Minding the Gap.