• The Reason to Live The Reason to Live


Rafael 3 Sat, May 5, 2018 6:15 PM
Sequoia 1 Sun, May 6, 2018 3:45 PM
Film Info
Running Time:78 min.
Premiere Status:California
Director:Stacey Tenenbaum
Producer:Stacey Tenenbaum
Sergeo Kirby
Screenwriter:Stacey Tenenbaum
Cinematographer:Van Royko csc.
Editor:Howard Goldberg
Print Source:H2L Productions
Note Writer:Lorraine Hess


Who knew the seemingly mundane profession of shoe shining could be so compelling? With great compassion and skill, director Stacey Tenenbaum spotlights shoe-shiners from New York to Tokyo in this illuminating film. Each character tells their unique story candidly and with dignity. Often invisible to the disdainful eye of the public, these illusive artists speak of class differences, job satisfaction, and the meaning of life. Don, a former accountant, now a “shiner” on the streets of New York, says his métier got him out of the rat race, while Yuya in Tokyo treats his art like a Japanese tea ceremony. For Sylvia from Mexico, the job allows her to keep her small children close while working. With shoe shining making a resurgence, the film helps us appreciate anew this once dying vocation. Just as these shoe-shining philosophers bring pleasure and conversation to their clientele, this entertaining and polished film has never a dull moment. | CALIFORNIA PREMIERE

IN PERSON: Director Stacey Tenenbaum, Film Subject Kealani Lada

Preceded by THE REASON TO LIVE US 2017, 11 min, Director Boyoung Kim
IN PERSON: Director Boyoung Kim

Included Shorts

The Reason to Live (11min) More

Additional Information

Stacey Tenenbaum is an award-winning producer and director. She spent 16 years working in factual television as a researcher, director, and producer before founding H2L Productions in 2014 to produce Shiners, her first documentary feature. Shiners was selected to screen in competition at Hot Docs in 2017, has secured an international distributor, and has been sold to PBS/ITVS for its 2018 Independent Lens series. The film will also be broadcast across Canada on the Documentary Channel and TV5 Quebec-Canada. H2L Productions is now at work on its second documentary feature, Pipe Dreams, a film about competitive organ players that will be airing on the Documentary Channel.