Tucked away in a nondescript neighborhood in East Los Angeles, surrounded by 10-foot fences and razor-encased barbed wire, sits the Los Angeles Unified School District’s central distribution hub. Among the encamped buildings is one of our country’s most extensive and final remaining facilities of its type, the Instrument Repair Facility. The operation has been in continuous service since 1959 and is home to – and the healing place for the district’s 80,000 plus musical instruments.
This obscure building and even more obscure profession recently came to the attention of veteran filmmakers Kris Bowers and Ben Proudfoot, who decided to tell their story after meeting the people and seeing their work. The Last Repair Shop is a moving tribute that shows how mending broken instruments can also mend broken souls.
The Last Repair Shop received a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Documentary, a deserving nomination, to be sure.
“Some (kids) come from a place of love; some come from a place of dysfunction – you can fix the broken instrument, but you can’t always fix the child. They can’t be glued back together. We’re doing it all for them, and I’m proud to be a part of it.” – Steve Bagmanyan, Shop Supervisor
The Last Repair Shop
From the L.A. Times Short Docs & Searchlight Pictures
Winner of the 2023 Critics Choice Documentary Awards for Best Short Documentary