Skip to Content

Slideshow

  • Carmine Street Guitars owner Rick Kelly looks on while
PREVIOUSLY PLAYED

CARMINE STREET GUITARS

HELD OVER!

2:35 & 10:25 ONLY

PRODUCED AND DIRECTED BY RON MANN

The mystique of the Greenwich Village as a haven for bohemians, artists, and musicians lives on (just steps from Film Forum) at Carmine Street Guitars: Rick Kelly and apprentice Cindy Hulej build handcrafted, one-of-a-kind instruments from wood salvaged from the city’s defunct buildings. (Unfazed 93-year-old mom Dorothy keeps the books and answers the phone.) Nothing looks or sounds like Rick Kelly’s guitars, which is why they’re embraced by Bob Dylan and Patti Smith, among others. A week in the life of the shop features visits from its devoted clientele: Lenny Kaye (Patti Smith Band), Kirk Douglas (The Roots), Eleanor Friedberger, Nels Cline (shopping for Wilco bandmate Jeff Tweedy), jazz guitarists Bill Frisell and Marc Ribot, and filmmaker/composer Jim Jarmusch. “A love letter… to the art of crafting a damn fine Stratocaster, to taking pride in your work and to finding a place for freaks and misfits to call home.” – David Fear, Rolling Stone

Presented with support from the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation Fund

CANADA   2018   80 MINS   ABRAMORAMA

Reviews

“A DELECTABLE CELEBRATION OF ANALOG CULTURE, DIY craft, and the heart of rock ‘n’ roll. A Zen ideal of doing what you love and loving what you do. A stubbornly off-the-beat concoction. You react (to these characters) as if they’d stepped out of a folk fable, and that’s the film’s quiet intoxication. Kelly is the Geppetto of rock ‘n’ roll, taking humble blocks of wood and breathing life into them. Jazz guitarist Bill Frisell does a solo rendition of ‘Surfer Girl’ and the reverb splendor of it takes your breath away. (The film) isn’t a fatally hip bauble. It’s a non-fiction prose-poem. It’s the sound of wood + electricity + something else: the kickass human heart.”
– Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“An intimate look at a maker of guitars… a mostly quiet celebration of the work of an artisan. Tender without sentimentality. Absorbing as it is understated. A magical destination for guitarists. (Kelly is) a craftsman who feels as American as Norman Rockwell. With each visit, the story of the shop unfolds; like a vaudeville act that keeps you in suspense for the next performer. The wood of the guitars is a metaphor as much as it is material. Kelly is recycling the bones of an earlier generation of New York.”
– David D’Arcy, Screen Daily

“A little gem for both guitar heads and lovers of old New York. A rewarding tangent on rock ‘n’ roll iconography. A delight for six-string gearheads and a reverie for those who still treasure what remains of pre-Bloomberg, pre-Giuliani New York. Jazz giants Bill Frisell and Marc Ribot drop in, offering improv or a lovely take on ‘Surfer Girl’...  As fun as these micro-concerts are, the musings of longtime customers can be more enjoyable. A rare holdout against Manhattan homogenization.”
– John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter

“A meditation on the magic of wood and of music, and the interaction of people.” ​​​​​​
Variety

“A sweet, enlightening and inspiring documentary that pays homage to the way things were done before mass production.”
Austin American Statesman