'The Last Repair Shop' documents labor of love repairing instruments for students

ByGeorge Pennacchio OTRC logo
Saturday, February 17, 2024
Oscar-nominated documentary 'The Last Repair Shop' to air on ABC
The Oscar-nominated documentary "The Last Repair Shop" will air on broadcast TV for the first time, with some extras presented by On The Red Carpet.

LOS ANGELES -- Anyone who's ever played an instrument knows how life-changing music can be.

A dozen people in the nation's second-largest school district work tirelessly to keep the melodies playing for students, and their passion is at the center of an Oscar-nominated film.

"The Last Repair Shop" takes us inside a workshop that may look unassuming on the outside, but where miracles happen inside.

The brilliant technicians bring broken instruments back to life for thousands of students in the Los Angeles Unified School District, one of the only districts in the country to supply musical equipment to students free of charge.

"This is not just a musical instrument repair shop. When an instrument breaks, there's a student without an instrument. No, no, no. Not in our city," says Steve Bagmanyan, piano tuner and supervisor of the repair shop.

For co-directors Ben Proudfoot and Kris Bowers, the film was a labor of love.

"It was an emotional and moving experience just to bear testimony to all the love that goes into these instruments," Proudfoot said.

"Steve actually tuned the pianos at my middle school and elementary school, so to actually have the chance to meet him and talk to him about it, I feel like really became an immediate connection for me to be a part of it," Bowers said.

One of those students who has experienced the power of music is young violinist Porche Brinker.

"If I didn't have my violin from school, I would probably, I don't know what I would do. Don't even jinx me with that," laughs Brinker.

Woodwind technician Duane Michaels has high hopes for his students. "You can feel like, you know, you're fixing an instrument for a future Grammy winner, if you want to kind of dream a little bit, you know?"

It's not a Grammy, but the dedication of Ben, Kris and the entire team has culminated with a nomination for Documentary Short Film at the 2024 Oscars.

DON'T MISS the 2024 Oscars live Sunday on ABC! Red carpet coverage starts at 1 p.m. ET | 10 a.m. PT with "Countdown to Oscars: On The Red Carpet Live." At 4 p.m. ET | 1 p.m. PT, live coverage continues with "On The Red Carpet at the Oscars," hosted by George Pennacchio with Roshumba Williams, Leslie Lopez and Rachel Brown.

The 96th Oscars, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, begins at 7 p.m. ET | 4 p.m. PT, an hour earlier than past years, followed by an all-new episode of "Abbott Elementary."