PRODUCED AND DIRECTED BY RON MANN
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: CARTER LOGAN, MICHAEL HIRSH
WRITER: LEN BLUM
MUSIC: THE SADIES
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: JOHN M TRAN, BECKY PARSONS
EDITOR: ROBERT KENNEDY
INTERNATIONAL SALES: THE MATCH FACTORY
WITH: ESZTER BALINT, CHRISTINE BOUGIE (BAHAMAS), NELS CLINE (WILCO), KIRK DOUGLAS (THE ROOTS), ELEANOR FRIEDBERGER, BILL FRISELL, DALLAS GOOD (THE SADIES), TRAVIS GOOD (THE SADIES), DAVE HILL, JAIME HINCE (THE KILLS), STEWART HURWOOD, JIM JARMUSCH (SQÜRL), LENNY KAYE (PATTI SMITH BAND), MARC RIBOT, CHARLIE SEXTON (BOB DYLAN BAND)
4K, COLOUR, 80 MIN
Once the centre of the New York bohemia, Greenwich Village is now home to lux restaurants, and buzzer door clothing stores catering to the nouveau riche. But one shop in the heart of the Village remains resilient to the encroaching gentrification: Carmine Street Guitars.
There, custom guitar maker Rick Kelly and his young apprentice Cindy Hulej, build handcrafted guitars out of reclaimed wood from old hotels, bars, churches and other local buildings. Nothing looks or sounds quite like a Rick Kelly guitar, which is the reason they are embraced by the likes of Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, Patti Smith, Jim Jarmusch, just to name a few.
Featuring a cast of prominent musicians and artists, the film captures five days in the life of Carmine Street Guitars, while examining an all-too-quickly vanishing way of life.
ABOUT RICK KELLY
Long Island native Rick Kelly took his fascination toward trees one step further to break boundaries as a guitar builder. Growing up, Kelly had always idolized his grandfather as a woodworker. While in college studying sculpture, Kelly began collecting and working with ancient woods, noticing that the tones they conjured on the electric guitars he was building held deeper, resonant tones than those built on factory assembly lines. He eventually made his way to Greenwich Village where he opened up for business in the late 1970s before moving to the present storefront for Carmine Street Guitars in 1990.
A chance meeting with filmmaker Jim Jarmusch (who gave Kelly some wood from his loft to build him a guitar) led to Kelly’s discovery of New York timber: pine that had been lumbered in the Adirondacks’ virgin forests nearly two centuries ago for the construction of the neighborhoods of Lower Manhattan, the Village, Bowery, and what would become Soho and Tribeca. Reclaiming these “bones of the city,” Kelly commenced building electric guitars primarily modeled on Leo Fender’s classic Telecaster design.
Singer-songwriter Eszter Balint is also an actress who made her cinematic debut in Jim Jarmusch’s Stranger Than Paradise.
Guitar and lap steel player, Christine Bougie’s is both a solo recording artist and guitarist in the indie band Bahamas.
Nels Cline is best known for his role as guitarist in the alternative rock band Wilco, as well as leading his own avant-garde jazz group.
“Captain” Kirk Douglas is the lead guitarist for the Hip Hop/Soul/Rock/Funk outfit The Roots which performs as the house band for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
Singer-songwriter Eleanor Friedberger is also known for being half of the indie rock duo the Fiery Furnaces.
A true innovator on his instrument, Bill Frisell is considered one of the world’s great jazz guitarists.
DALLAS AND TRAVIS GOOD
As well as prolific recording artists for The Sadies, the band also has backed the likes of Neko Case, Andre Williams and Neil Young.
Writer, DJ, and Stand-up Comedian, Dave Hill is a member of the groups Valley Lodge, and Painted Doll.
Guitarist extrodinare for indie rock duo The Kills, Jamie Hince lost the use of his middle finger in a freak accident but that didn’t stop him from playing.
Long time guitar tech and friend of musician Lou Reed, Stuart Hurwood (in collaboration with Laurie Anderson) conceptualized the sonic installation Drones using Lou Reeds amps and guitars.
Film director, actor, and guitarist for his NYC band SQÜRL, Jim Jarmusch has been a guiding force of independent cinema since his breakout Stranger Than Paradise.
Lenny Kaye is best known as Patti Smith’s guitarist from her debut to the present day. Possessed with an encyclopedic knowledge of music, history and culture, Lenny Kaye compiled the classic garage rock LP anthology Nuggets.
Guitar virtuoso Marc Ribot has explored free rock/jazz guitar as a solo artist as well as collaborator with Tom Waits, Elvis Costello and Marianne Faithful among others.
Longstanding guitarist for Bob Dylan, Charlie Sexton is also an actor featured in the award-winning films Boyhood and Blaze.
Rick Kelly took his love of woodworking one step further when creating guitars out of them. His handmade custom Telecasters have become the stuff of legend since he opened his store and workshop in Greenwich Village in the late1970’s, belying an industrious, gentle and earthy artisan with an eye for what an electric guitar should be and an ear for its enchanting sounds.
The 93-year-old matriarch of Carmine Street Guitars, Rick’s mother, Dorothy, has been crunching the numbers, keeping the books, and maintaining the shop. Mrs. Kelly’s role could not be filled by anyone else.
A native of Queens, New York, Cindy Hulej has always loved both music and art. She walked into Carmine Street Guitars five years ago and asked Rick for a job, and much to her surprise was hired on the spot.
ABOUT SPHINX PRODUCTIONS
Sphinx Productions is a documentary film and television production company, based in Toronto, Canada, that has been producing award-winning films since 1976 Recent productions include Ron Mann's Altman, a feature length documentary about iconoclast film director Robert Altman.