"Randy Parsons: American Luthier” has had an impressive film festival run. The journey began in October 2011 when it premiered at the ITSA Film Festival in California, and won the Jury Award for Best Documentary. The film has been an official selection in major international festivals -- it has screened in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and Korea -- and its cinematography has been recognized with a recent nomination and an award.
Aldrich's short documentary showcases the journey and talents of Randy Parsons, whose hand-crafted guitars stand out as works of art in an industry where major manufacturers have moved to computer-controlled mass production techniques. The days of a highly-skilled worker making an instrument from beginning to end have largely passed, but Parsons' insistence on using hand tools and traditional techniques has given him a distinct advantage; Parsons can build anything his customers dream up, and he doesn't have to recalibrate million dollar machines to do it.
"American Luthier" recounts Parsons' transformation from aspiring musician to guitar-maker. The guitar had been Parsons' identity since he was a child, but after studying classical and jazz guitar at Cornish College of the Arts, he realized that he would never make a living as a musician. So he gave it up -- and then one day he had a vision of how the guitar would come back into his life. Now he's creating instruments that are highly sought after works of art by musicians such as Jack White and Jimmy Page. "This is a film about someone who gave up their passion for playing guitars and discovered that they had a passion for making guitars. Audiences have been inspired by Parsons' story and his commitment to preserve the art of making guitars." says Aldrich.