Disney’s Searchlight Pictures and L.A. Times Studios have released a new trailer for a new award-winning documentary short film called “The Last Repair Shop”, which has been produced by Breakwater Studios.
Once commonplace in the United States, today, Los Angeles is by far the largest and one of the last American cities to provide free and freely repaired musical instruments to its public schoolchildren, a continuous service since 1959. From Academy Award-nominated directing duo Ben Proudfoot and Kris Bowers, “The Last Repair Shop” grants an all-access pass to the nondescript downtown warehouse where a dwindling handful of devoted craftspeople keep over 80,000 student instruments in good repair.
Witness the profound life stories of four staff master craftspeople as well as the captivating students whose lives have been transformed by their instruments. In the repair people’s stories, music has been the continuous thread that has mended their broken hearts and brought them to where they are now — fixing faulty instruments (some saxophones date back to the 1930s) to get them back into the longing hands of Los Angeles’ public school youth.
The new short will be released for free on November 8th, 2023, on the Los Angeles Times’ YouTube channel and on latimes.com. It’s not been revealed if this short will also be released on Hulu and Disney+.
The film just received two Critics Choice Association nominations for Best Short Documentary and Best Score, and was included on DOC NYC’s influential 15-film Short List.
Check out the trailer below:
The film’s co-director Kris Bowers said in a statement:
“I found out that Steve, one of the main storytellers in the film, personally tuned the school pianos that I grew up playing and learning on. I had no idea this shop existed until I started making the film with Ben, but The Last Repair Shop became a passionate love letter paying a delayed debt of gratitude to those unsung heroes who gave me and countless others the gift of music. It’s not too much to say I owe my career to people like the four repair people in our film.”
Bowers’ Co-Director Ben Proudfoot added:
“Every child deserves the opportunity to play music. Because music is not only a worthy discipline and sometimes a wonderful career, but it can also be a healing force that can repair our deepest traumas and teach us to play our part. With The Last Repair Shop, we wanted to celebrate that spirit and pay tribute to a truly unique program that has produced countless legends from John Williams to Kendrick Lamar.”
David Greenbaum and Matthew Greenfield, Presidents of Searchlight Pictures said in a statement:
“We’ve discovered such a special film with The Last Repair Shop, and we’re thrilled to be working with Ben and Kris. This is the kind of story we need right now, and we are proud to shed light on these extraordinary personal journeys,”
Leslie Lindsey, director of development of L.A. Times Studios and supervising producer of L.A. Times Short Docs also added:
“We are thrilled to announce the release of The Last Repair Shop as part of our L.A. Times Short Docs series. Ben Proudfoot and Kris Bowers are masterful directors who have captured this stunning story about the people whose craftsmanship helps keep instruments in the hands of the city’s students. We can’t wait for people to see it.”
The Last Repair Shop had its world premiere at the 2023 Telluride Film Festival. It subsequently had its international premiere at the Calgary International Film Festival where it won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary Short. And just yesterday, the film won the Matt Decample Audience Choice Award for Best Short at the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival. In an early review, Awards Daily said, “The Last Repair Shop speaks to our humanity and highlights how important the arts are to our development, growth, and survival.”
Led by the charming general manager, Steve Bagmanyan, the film introduces a technician from each department: Dana Atkinson, in the strings division, who takes us to his personal breaking point as a young man confronting his sexuality; Paty Moreno, in charge of brass and the sole woman in the shop, who chronicles her pursuit of the American dream as a Mexican immigrant and single mother; Duane Michaels, a quirky, self-described hillbilly who fixes the woodwind instruments and shares the rip-roaring tale of how his $20 fiddle took him on tour with Elvis; and finally Steve himself, who learned to tune pianos in America after surviving a harrowing escape from ethnic persecution in Azerbaijan in the late 1980s, a conflict again in the headlines today.
The film blends the unexpectedly intimate personal histories of the repair people with emotional, firsthand accounts from the actual student musicians for whom their instruments made all the difference. Porche, 9, shares how her beloved violin helps her cope with her family’s health problems; college-bound Manuel, 18, states that his enormous sousaphone diverted him from the pitfalls of growing up as a low-income kid from Boyle Heights; Ismerai, 15, whose alto sax brought her much-needed discipline and calm; and the bookish Amanda, 17, brought to tears by her profound connection with the piano.
Directed by Ben Proudfoot & Kris Bowers. Executive Produced by Jane Solomon, Peter Rotter, Ben Proudfoot, Kris Bowers, & Briana Henry. Produced by Ben Proudfoot, Kris Bowers, Jeremy Lambert & Josh Rosenberg. Edited by Nick Garnham Wright. Cinematography by David Feeney-Mosier. Original Score by Katya Richardson, with themes by Kris Bowers. Featuring Dana Atkinson, Paty Moreno, Duane Michaels & Steve Bagmanyan. For L.A. Times Studios: Executive Producers Sharon Matthews, Terry Tang, Jason Spingarn-Koff & Leslie Lindsey, Co-Executive Producers Shani Hilton and Nani Walker, Senior Publishing Producer, Karen Foshay, and Associate Producer, Jessica Q. Chen.
Are you looking forward to watching this short? Let us know on social media!
Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom.