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Documentary Film: Carmine Street Guitars

“Carmine Street Guitars” in theaters: Apr 24, 2019

About the film:

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.


  • Rating: NR
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Directed By: Ron Mann
  • Written By: Len Blum
  • Runtime: 80 minutes
  • Studio: Sphinx Productions



I owe this one to film director Jim Jarmusch who introduced me to guitar maker Rick Kelly and his fabled Greenwich Village guitar store Carmine Street Guitars. Years earlier, Jim brought Rick some wood from the roof of his loft he was renovating which started Rick to use salvaged wood from old NY city buildings.  But it wasn’t just the cool resonant guitars made from the “bones of NY” that attracted me — it was the magical vibe of the place and its community of musicians who stop by to hang out, as if it was a post office at the turn of the 20t​ h​ century. Ultimately, I felt it was something that needed to captured… before it just all slips away.



This film is dedicated to Jonathan Demme

I grew up watching Jonathan’s films – which were often about people whose narratives are ignored by mainstream media. But really what stands out for me was the unconventional approach to his performance and political documentaries: ​Swimming to Cambodia, ​ Stop Making Sense, Neil Young Heart of Gold, Haiti Dreams of Democracy… What captivated me was the way those and many other films celebrated humanity, and championed the outsider. And to this day I am still inspired by his work   ~Ron Mann



By: Hollywood Connections Center Staff

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