Oscar-Winner Reminds Us of the Importance of Music

May 17, 2024
The Last Repair Shop | 2024 Oscar-winning Documentary Short

For the second time in the last three years, the Oscar for Best Documentary Short has been claimed by Ben Proudfoot. The Canadian-born filmmaker and his fellow director Kris Bowers won the Academy Award in March for their film The Last Repair Shop, the story of craftspeople in Los Angeles who keep 80,000 musical instruments in working order for the city’s public school students. It’s the only big city school system that keeps kids in tune with free bassoons, trombones, sousaphones, cellos, piccolos and every other kind of instrument.

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“The Last Repair Shop is about the heroes in our schools who often go unsung, unthanked, and unseen,” Bowers said from the stage. Looking up at the rafters where the film protagonists were seated, he said, “Tonight, you are sung, you are thanked, and you are seen.”

They were joined on stage by one of the young musicians in the film, violinist Porché Brinker.

“John Williams inspired me to become a composer,” Bowers noted. “He went to L.A. Public Schools. I went to LA Public Schools. This is Porché Brinker. She’s 12 years old. She’s playing violin in L.A. public schools. She looks amazing tonight.”

Bowers continued, “L.A. is one of the last cities in America to give public school students free and freely prepared instruments. We need to fix that because music education isn’t just about creating incredible musicians. It’s about creating incredible humans.”