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L.A. Times wins first Oscar for ‘The Last Repair Shop,’ about LAUSD music program

From left, Porche Brinker, Ben Proudfoot and Kris Bowers during the live telecast of the 96th Annual Academy Awards.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)
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The Los Angeles Times has covered the Oscars for 95 years — and now it has won one.

The heartwarming “The Last Repair Shop,” directed by Ben Proudfoot and Kris Bowers and co-distributed by L.A. Times Studios and Searchlight, took home the prize in the documentary short category at the Oscars on Sunday.

A moving love letter to Los Angeles itself, “The Last Repair Shop” centers on four unsung master craftspeople who service musical instruments for Los Angeles Unified School District students. Working in the largest remaining workshop of its kind in America, the four help oversee the maintenance of some 80,000 instruments, ensuring that the city’s schoolchildren have playable instruments in their hands every day.

It’s a quest for a dress that these students could have never imagined. Thanks to a corps of community volunteers and donors they are ready for their red carpet walk on Sunday.

March 10, 2024

Proudfoot previously won the same prize for the 2021 short “The Queen of Basketball”; that year, he and Bowers were nominated in the same category for co-directing “A Concerto Is a Conversation.”

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Accepting the prize, Bowers said, “Music education isn’t just about creating incredible musicians — it’s about creating incredible human beings.”

In a warehouse in the heart of Los Angeles, a dwindling handful of devoted craftspeople maintain more than 80,000 student musical instruments, the largest remaining workshop in America of its kind.

Nov. 8, 2023

“The Last Repair Shop” is now available to watch on Disney+ and Hulu as well as on The Times’ YouTube channel and latimes.com, as part of the L.A. Times Short Docs series.

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