July 20th, 2024

Nova Scotia filmmaker Ben Proudfoot wins Oscar for short documentary

By Alex Nino Gheciu, The Canadian Press on March 10, 2024.

Filmmaker Celine Song and actor Ryan Gosling are among the Canadians vying for Oscars tonight at a star-studded ceremony in Los Angeles. Song poses for a portrait in Toronto on Monday, May 29, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Arlyn McAdorey

A short documentary co-directed by Canadian filmmaker Ben Proudfoot has won an Oscar.

“The Last Repair Shop” tells the story of a Los Angeles warehouse that provides free musical instrument repair service for thousands of public school children.

The 39-minute documentary was directed by Nova Scotia-born Proudfoot and his friend and filmmaker Kris Bowers.

“The Last Repair Shop is about the heroes in our schools, who often go unsung, unthanked and unseen. Tonight, you are sung, you are thanked and you are seen,” Bowers said during the acceptance speech.

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

Proudfoot and Bowers were joined on stage by Porché Brinker, an 11-year-old violinist who appears in the film.

The project picked up best documentary short film trophies at the Calgary International Film Festival and at the Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards.

This is Proudfoot’s second Oscar.

His short film, “The Queen of Basketball,” about U.S. basketball legend Lusia Harris, won an Academy Award in 2021.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 10, 2024.

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