In their second collaboration, co-directors Ben Proudfoot & Kris Bowers’ THE LAST REPAIR SHOP introduces us to the Los Angeles Unified School District’s instrument repair facility for all of the LAUSD student musician. 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 LAST REPAIR SHOP 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. Co-director Kris Bowers joins us to talk about the impact the LAUSD has had on his own musical journey, the joy of discovering the amazing stories told by the technicians and the students in the film and the enduring power of music to heal, empower and inspire.
From Oscar® and Grammy®-nominated and Emmy®-winning filmmaker, musician and LAUSD graduate Kris Bowers (A Concerto is a Conversation, Green Book, King Richard, Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story) and Oscar® winning director Ben Proudfoot (a two-time Oscar® nominee for The Queen of Basketball and A Concerto is a Conversation)
About the filmmaker – Kristopher Bowers (born 1989) is an American composer and pianist who has composed scores for films, video games, television and documentaries including, “Green Book,” Madden NFL, “Dear White People,” and Kobe Bryant’s “Muse.” He has recorded, performed, and collaborated with the likes of Jay-Z, Kanye West, and José James. He won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition in 2011 and a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Direction and Composition in 2017 for The Snowy Day. Bowers worked on the score of Ava DuVernay’s Netflix mini-series When They See Us as well as the current Netflix hit Bridgerton. For more go to: krisbowers.com
About the filmmaker – Academy Award® winning director and 2020 Forbes 30 Under 30 entrepreneur Ben Proudfoot is the founder and creative force behind Breakwater Studios. Once a world champion in sleight-of-hand magic, Ben now brings that spirit of wonder to filmmaking, directing or producing more than fifty original short documentaries a year. The Nova Scotia native drives Breakwater’s humanist storytelling across documentary, narrative, and branded mediums.Breakwater produces bespoke branded content for individual, governmental, and corporate clients, including Charles Schwab & Co., LA Phil, Amazon.com, Unity Technology, Kelly Services, and Annapurna Pictures.In addition to a long list of awards and distinctions, festival successes, and placement on television shows, such as Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, Breakwater won an Emmy for the PBS documentary Montage: Great Film Composers and the Piano. His original film, That’s My Jazz, had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival and won a James Beard Award. His work has also received eight Vimeo Staff Picks.In 2021, Proudfoot was nominated for the 93rd Academy Awards for his short documentary A Concerto Is a Conversation, a collaboration launched at Sundance with his friend and co-director Kris Bowers and executive produced by Ava DuVernay. Proudfoot’s anthologyAlmost Famous was released with The New York Times to widespread acclaim. The series profiles figures adjacent to history in his signature style of intimate direct address interviews. In 2021, Proudfoot’s The Queen of Basketball, recounts the career of women’s basketball legend Lusia “Lucy” Harris. The film was executive produced by Shaquille O’Neal and Stephen Curry and went on to win the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short. Ben lives in Los Angeles. For more go to: breakwaterstudios.com/team/ben-proudfoot