CHICAGO -- Rockford filmmaker Bing Liu and his independent documentary "Minding the Gap," were nominated for a 2019 Academy Award for Best Documentary.
ABC7's Janet Davies has been following the success of "Minding the Gap" since its debut at the Sundance Film Festival in 2018. Though Liu is sick with the flu, he had a quick celebration Tuesday morning before heading to the set of his new movie on the South Side.
The new Oscar nominee joined the team at Kartemquin Films, one of the crown jewels of the Chicago arts community. The gang was all there to toast one of their own and celebrate a job worth of Oscar gold. Among them were fellow nominee for the film Diane Quon, mentors and cinematic soldiers.
"There are so many talented filmmakers who've been doing this craft for so long, to be 30 years old and to have this happen to me seems unreal, I think," said Liu.
Liu doesn't even own a tuxedo.
"I do not own a tux, I just got my first suit, my first custom suit, this year," he said.
Liu has worked on many TV shows shot in Chicago, but he's about to experience a different level of star power.
"It'll be weird to share a space with them, to go up to Bradley Cooper and shake his hand and say hi," Liu said.
"Minding the Gap" starts with a skateboarding community, but goes to the root of a family in crisis and abuse.
"I wanted to help people like the 14-year-old version of myself, give them something to grasp onto, a guidebook for survival," he said.
And he definitely hasn't yet absorbed this new wave of fame.
"I've got 191 text messages, 260 emails, so I haven't engaged with people yet," he said.
Bing was raised in Rockford but now calls Chicago his home. He loves it here and, so far, is only "going Hollywood" to attend the Academy Awards.
His next movie is about Chicago area men most at risk for gun violence who are getting help to change their path.
'Minding the Gap,' documentary by Rockford filmmaker, nominated for Oscar