Academy Award® Winning Documentary Short


A film by Ben Proudfoot & Kris Bowers


Searchlight Pictures, Los Angeles Times & Breakwater Studios


Once commonplace in the United States, today Los Angeles is by far the largest and one of the last American cities to provide free and freely repaired musical instruments to its public schoolchildren, a continuous service since 1959. From Academy Award®-nominated directing duo Ben Proudfoot and Kris Bowers, The Last Repair Shop grants an all-access pass to the nondescript downtown warehouse where a dwindling handful of devoted craftspeople keep over 80,000 student instruments in good repair.


How You Can Help

Donate to “The Last Repair Shop Fund”




About the directors

Ben Proudfoot

An Academy Award®-winning short documentary director and entrepreneur, Ben Proudfoot is the creative force behind Breakwater Studios. The studio’s work has been recognized by the Academy Awards®, The Emmys, The Peabody Awards, Critics Choice Documentary Awards, The James Beard Awards, the Sundance Film Festival, Telluride, and the Tribeca Film Festival among others. Proudfoot was named one of Forbes “30 Under 30” for his leadership and innovation in the brand-funded documentary space. He hails from Halifax, Nova Scotia, and is a graduate of the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. Proudfoot is an accomplished sleight-of-hand magician and has performed at The Magic Castle in Los Angeles.

Kris Bowers

Kris Bowers is an Emmy® Award-winning, two-time Grammy®-nominated and Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker and composer. A Juilliard-educated pianist, Bowers creates genre-defying music that pays homage to his jazz roots— with inflections of alternative and R&B influences. Composing the original scores for Best Picture GREEN BOOK and Netflix hit QUEEN CHARLOTTE among many notable credits, Bowers has established himself at the forefront of Hollywood’s emerging generation of composers. Bowers is currently gearing up for the release of some of his most highly anticipated projects, including Ava DuVernay’s ORIGIN later this year, Warner Bros. THE COLOR PURPLE, to be released in theaters December 25th and BOB MARLEY: ONE LOVE due early 2024. As an accomplished filmmaker, Bowers has multiple projects in development through his Et Al Studios Productions. Most recently, he co-directed the documentary THE LAST REPAIR SHOP alongside Ben Proudfoot, releasing this November by Searchlight Pictures and L.A. Times Studios. Previously, Bowers garnered an Oscar nomination for “Best Documentary Short Film” for his film A CONCERTO IS A CONVERSATION (2020), which he also directed alongside Ben Proudfoot.


A Word From Co-Director
Kris Bowers:

As one of the millions of kids who graduated from the Los Angeles Unified School District, I spent every moment I could with the school’s piano. There, I found a safe place, and I found my voice. Those were the foundational moments that propelled me into the school band. To Juilliard. To the Oscars. To fulfill my wildest dreams and meet my heroes as a musician and film composer.


The one person I never got to meet was the man who tuned that school piano.


In making “The Last Repair Shop,” my directing partner Ben Proudfoot and I got the chance to tell the tale of four extraordinary master craftspeople who ensure, day in and day out, that L.A.’s schoolchildren have playable instruments in their hands. We were floored and proud to find out that our city, Los Angeles, was home to the last shop of this kind in the country.


When I stepped inside the Los Angeles Unified School District’s central instrument shop four years ago, I was surrounded by incredible cinematic imagery: cascading ribbons of sawdust, blazing torches soldering brass, the grand choreography of the thousands of tiny pieces that magically coalesce inside a piano. I expected that. But what I didn’t expect was that every one of the technicians’ life stories would break my heart and put it back together again.


Including Steve Bagmanyan’s, the man who tuned my middle and elementary schools’ piano.


“The Last Repair Shop” is a love letter to our city. It’s a testament to understanding how broken something is — and fixing it anyway. And it’s a tribute to those who toil away, largely without thanks, in service of helping the next generation grow in harmony.


Thanks, Steve.