×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Carmine Street Guitars, Beloved New York City Shop, Gets Documentary Tribute

The Ron Mann-directed film features appearances by Wilco's Nels Cline and Lenny Kaye, among others, and will premiere at the Venice Film Festival.

New documentary “Carmine Street Guitars” will have its world premier at the Venice Film Festival. The Ron Mann-directed film chronicles a week in the life of Greenwich Village guitar maker Rick Kelly and his apprentice Cindy Hulej. Kelly’s method is unique: he builds his guitars out of wood salvaged from old New York City buildings constructed in the 1800s or as he calls it, “the bones of old New York.” Artists like Lou Reed and Bob Dylan have owned Kelly’s guitars, which feature parts taken from such iconic Manhattan locales as the Hotel Chelsea and Chumley’s pub.

The doc brings musicians of all stripes — including Patti Smith Band’s Lenny Kaye, Kirk Douglas of The Roots, Jamie Hince of The Kills, Bill Frisell, Nels Cline of Wilco, Marc Ribot, Ester Baling, Dallas and Travis Good of The Sadies and Dylan six-stringer Charlie Sexton — to the shop. Filmmaker Jim Jarmusch (pictured below) also makes an appearance for a quick guitar repair, and was responsible for the film’s conception, in a way. “This movie was really made thanks to Jim Jarmusch,” Mann tells Variety. “Not only for introducing me to Carmine Street Guitars but also for films like ‘Coffee and Cigarettes’ and ‘Patterson’ — this film has that sort of tone.” Mann’s own credits go back more than three decades and include 2014’s “Altman” as well as “Grass” and “Comic Book Confidential.”

Jim Jarmusch in 'Carmine Street Guitars'
CREDIT: Courtesy of Sphinx Productions

Mann captures some visitors to the shop, which is located at 42 Carmine St., in intimate moments, like Cline sampling and buying a Kelly guitar for his friend and bandleader Jeff Tweedy; Frisell talks about growing up listening to Colorado’s unlikely surf band The Astronauts, and then plays an instrumental rendition of Brian Wilson’s “Surfer Girl;” And in the course of the week, Kelly acquires some spare wood from the venerated McSorley’s Ale House, and re-purposes it into a guitar that almost immediately ends up in the capable hands of Sexton.

Carmine Street Guitars is a New York story about standing tall in the face of commerce-driven gentrification. It’s also a meditation on the magic of wood and of music, and the interaction of people. “Marc Ribot says Rick’s shop is about community,” Mann explains. “That’s the way I saw it. I always likened Carmine Street Guitars to a small town post office at a turn of the 20th century . Ultimately,  I felt it was something that needed to be captured… before it just all slips away.”

The Match Factory is handling world sales for the film.

More Film

  • Jodie Foster'Money Monster' photocall, Palais, 69th

    Film News Roundup: Jodie Foster to Direct, Star in Remake of Icelandic Thriller

    In today’s film news roundup, Jodie Foster is remaking Iceland’s “Woman at War,” the Art Directors Guild honors production designers Anthony Masters and Ben Carre, “47 Meters Down: Uncaged” gets cast and Melissa Takal directs “New Year New You” for Hulu. PROJECT ANNOUNCEMENT Jodie Foster will direct, co-produce and star in an English-language remake of [...]

  • Jake Gyllenhaal

    Jake Gyllenhaal to Star in Remake of Denmark's Oscar Entry 'The Guilty' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Bold Films, and Jake Gyllenhaal and Riva Marker’s Nine Stories banner have acquired the rights to remake the Danish thriller “The Guilty,” with Gyllenhaal attached to star. The pic won the world cinema audience award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and was also named one of the top five foreign language films of 2018 by [...]

  • Toxic Avenger

    'Toxic Avenger' Movie in the Works at Legendary

    Legendary Entertainment is developing “The Toxic Avenger” as a movie after acquiring the feature film rights. Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz of Troma Entertainment will serve as producers. Alex Garcia and Jay Ashenfelter will oversee for Legendary. Kaufman and Herz produced the original 1984 comedy, set in the fictional town of Tromaville, N.J., and centered [...]

  • Constance Wu

    'Crazy Rich Asians' Star Constance Wu in Negotiations for Romantic Comedy

    “Crazy Rich Asians” star Constance Wu is in talks to join Sony’s Screen Gems’ untitled romantic comedy, with Elizabeth Banks and Max Handelman producing. “GLOW” actress Kimmy Gatewood is making her feature directorial debut on the project. She will be directing from a Savion Einstein script about a woman who becomes pregnant with two babies [...]

  • Maggie Gyllenhaal AoA

    Maggie Gyllenhaal on Why a Woman Director Doesn't Automatically Make a Story More Feminine

    Having a female director doesn’t automatically make a story more feminine, says “The Kindergarten Teacher” star Maggie Gyllenhaal, but when it comes to her film with director Sara Colangelo, she says the female narrative is fully encapsulated. “Just because something is written or directed by a woman doesn’t necessarily make it a feminine articulation,” she says [...]

  • Kevin Hart Hurricane Harvey

    Academy Looks Warily at Oscar Host Options as Board Meeting Looms

    Kevin Hart’s abrupt departure as Oscars host has left the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences scrambling to find someone to take the gig. As of now, the situation remains fluid as the group’s leadership explores options, including going host-less, individuals familiar with the situation told Variety. The Academy was blindsided by Hart’s announced departure Thursday [...]

  • Regina King Maggie Gyllenhaal

    Maggie Gyllenhaal, Regina King on Intimacy Experts: 'I Could Have Used the Help When I Was Younger'

    Maggie Gyllenhaal’s sex-trade industry series “The Deuce” features one job that’s unlike any other in television: an intimacy expert. During her Variety Actors on Actors interview with Regina King, “The Kindergarten Teacher” actress explained how the strange role is actually important in helping young actresses stand up for themselves, especially when it comes to sex scenes on [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content