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  • Writer's pictureSteven Hansen

A Stunning Documentary About Love and Music

Updated: Nov 22, 2023

In a world where everything is disposable, four dedicated artisans toil away every day to keep 80,000 well-used, public school musical instruments in playable shape and perfect pitch. The work takes place in a nondescript warehouse in the Los Angeles area, but the story that unfolds inside is stunning.

In “The Last Repair Shop,” a poignant new documentary from Academy Award-nominated directing duo Ben Proudfoot and Kris Bowers, we meet four unforgettable craftspeople who have dedicated their lives to bringing music into the lives of L.A.’s schoolkids with the instruments they lovingly repair. Along with the beautiful violins, tubas, and pianos they make new again, they have also re-tuned their own incredible lives.

Once commonplace in the U.S., today Los Angeles is one of the last American cities to provide free -- and freely repaired -- musical instruments to its public schoolchildren. Hearing of the work that has been going on in this facility since 1959 inspired the filmmakers to let the world in on this unique service. Proudfoot and Bowers' previous collaboration was 2021’s Oscar-nominated “A Concerto Is a Conversation.”

This 2023 documentary from Searchlight Pictures, Los Angeles Times & Breakwater Studios has just been made available for free viewing on the Los Angeles Times YouTube channel and is already winning awards including the Critics' Choice Documentary Award for Best Short Documentary.

Enjoy this remarkable story (39:58 min.):

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