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Armenian Resilience Shines in Oscar-Nominated Documentary 'The Last Repair Shop'

Armenian Resilience Shines in Oscar-Nominated Documentary 'The Last Repair Shop'

"The Last Repair Shop," a documentary short film featuring an Armenian character central to its story, has been nominated for Best Documentary Short Film at the upcoming Academy Awards. The film takes us into the heart of Los Angeles, where a small group of devoted craftspeople passionately maintains over 80,000 student musical instruments, making it the largest remaining workshop of its kind in America.

At the helm of this workshop is the charming general manager, Steve Bagmanyan, whose personal journey adds a poignant layer to the narrative. Bagmanyan, who faced ethnic persecution in Azerbaijan during the 1980s, leads a team of craftsmen dedicated to repairing musical instruments and ensuring they find their way into the hands of schoolchildren across the city.

The film delves into Bagmanyan's past, recounting the tragic events of the Sumgait, Kirovabad, and Baku pogroms in Azerbaijan from the late 80s into early 90s, where Armenians faced brutal persecution and expulsion. Against this backdrop, "The Last Repair Shop" becomes not only a celebration of craftsmanship but also a powerful exploration of resilience and the indomitable human spirit.

As the documentary unfolds, viewers are introduced to four unforgettable characters, each with a broken-and-repaired life dedicated to bringing more than just music to the schoolchildren of Los Angeles. The story resonates with personal experiences, as one of the filmmakers reflects on the profound impact of a piano tuner in shaping his musical journey.

The film's director, reflecting on his personal connection to the subject matter, shares the transformative moments spent with a school piano, which served as a sanctuary and a catalyst for his musical pursuits. "The Last Repair Shop" becomes a love letter to Los Angeles, a testament to fixing broken things despite challenges, and a tribute to those working tirelessly, often without recognition, to nurture the next generation's growth in harmony.

This marks the second Oscar nomination for the directing duo, with three total nominations for Ben Proudfoot, who previously won an Oscar in 2022 for "The Queen of Basketball." Oscar voting is set to begin on February 22, 2024, and will conclude on February 27, 2024. The Academy Awards ceremony is scheduled for March 10, 2024, promising an evening that celebrates the magic of storytelling and the resilience of the human spirit.


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