Movie 'The Last Repair Shop' shows how damaged musical instruments come back to life for LAUSD kids

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Saturday, December 2, 2023
Take a peek behind the door of a musical, magical 'Last Repair Shop'
The new documentary "The Last Repair Shop" takes us inside is a place where broken or damaged musical instruments are brought back to life by skilled technicians, who know how important their service is to LAUSD students.

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A new documentary short takes us inside "The Last Repair Shop." It's from filmmakers Ben Proudfoot and Kris Bowers, who received an Oscar nomination in 2020 for their short film, "A Concerto Is a Conversation."

This dynamic duo of documentaries has teamed up again to tell us about a building not far from Downtown L.A., where people go to work every day so music can live in our classrooms.

"The Last Repair Shop" is a place where broken or damaged instruments are brought back to life by skilled technicians who know the service they provide is important for children. This small group of employees in the Los Angeles Unified School District maintain 80,000 instruments...repairing them without cost to the students who get to play them. It is a labor of love.

Making the documentary was also a labor of love for Proudfoot and Bowers.

"It feels like you know, the North Pole of musical instruments, you know?" said Bowers. "It feels like such an incredible workshop, just even looking around at all the instruments and the history."

All the salvaged pieces of musical instruments that line this hallway can be used in the repair shop.

"Think about how many different people play these instruments, right? You have a saxophone that started in the 1930s, right, still being played today, almost 100 years later!" said Proudfoot. "It was an emotional and moving experience just to bear testimony to all the love that goes into these instruments."

"The Last Repair Shop" tells the very personal, often emotional, stories of the technicians who take care of all the instruments.

"I think, for me, it's a sense of pride being from L.A., you know?" said Bowers. "A reminder of what we're doing as a city for our students and what we can be so proud of, you know, putting effort in."

"I know we're both just incredibly proud to have used what skills we have as filmmakers to shine a light on a story that, I think, will bring people together when they see it," said Proudfoot. "And that's our ultimate goal."

If you'd like to watch "The Last Repair Shop," it's on the L.A. Times YouTube channel.