LAUSD's `Last Repair Shop' workers get Oscar statuette to display

Two months after winning an Academy Award for their film about the small team of people who repair musical instruments for Los Angeles Unified School District classes, the directors of "The Last Repair Shop" brought their Oscar statuettes to the downtown facility Monday.

One of the two statuettes that were presented to Ben Proudfoot and Kris Bowers for the film will be on loan for occasional display at the shop in tribute to the people who keep the shop running.

"Ben Proudfoot and Kris Bowers, the co-directors of `The Last Repair Shop,' brought notice, brought life, brought attention, brought recognition, elevated the dignity, the humanity, the professionalism of individuals who for far too long worked in the shadows," LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said during a ceremony at the shop Monday morning.

"The Last Repair Shop" won the Oscar for best documentary short in March. The success of the film has led to an injection of interest -- and cash - - into the small four-person shop that helps keep music education programs running in the nation's second-largest school district by repairing and maintaining more than 130,000 instruments.

After accepting the Oscar, Proudfoot announced a capital campaign to help support the shop, with an ultimate goal of raising $15 million. As of Monday, that campaign had raised about $101,000, but Carvalho said a total of roughly a half-million dollars had been raised in support of the shop since it gained Oscar notoriety.

According to the online fundraising campaign's website,, the funds raised will help create an apprenticeship program for future craftspeople, while also funding new equipment and facilities. The campaign will also work to support music education programs overall.

Bowers noted in March that he had a special connection with the film, since he was involved with music programs when he attended LAUSD schools. He reiterated that sentiment Monday while visiting the repair shop.

"The music rooms and the pianos in every school that I went to were incredibly important to me," Bowers said. "They were the places that I felt safest growing up, where I kind of processed and worked through a lot of things."