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Celebrating 20 years of Bootblack Competition, IMsLBB is pleased to present...
Meet the men and women who make their living cleaning our shoes. From New York to Tokyo and beyond, Shiners travels the world to give you an insider’s view of this overlooked profession. People around the world have turned to shoe shining to provide for themselves and their families. These are their stories. Enter their universe. You'll never look at a shoe shiner the same way again!
If you want job satisfaction become a shoe shiner.
This simple statement, which may seem counter-intuitive or possibly naïve, was my starting point into the world of shoe shining.
I became interested in shoe shiners in 1997, during a six month work placement in Mumbai, India. Each day would begin with a shoe shine prior to my train journey to a job in the suburbs of the sprawling city. I always went to the same shiner, a young boy who had a special flair for the job. I loved the feeling of having my shoes shined, the satisfaction of taking an old, dirty shoe and making it new again, and the unspoken connection between me and the shiner. This led me to question whether shoe shiners feel the same.
After years of chatting with shiners around the world, I discovered that they do! Shoe shiners universally enjoy the simple act of making shoes shiny. They take pride in the work they do and they like the freedom of being their own bosses. Yet despite the fact they provide a valuable service, shoe shiners are often ignored, looked down upon and, in some countries, even maligned. This film asks viewers to question why that is.
From class relations, to the impact of our disposable consumer culture, to more personal questions, such as the importance of job satisfaction and how we develop connections with people in our daily lives, this simple profession touches upon a variety of issues which are of concern to us all.
“Shiners” is produced by STACEY TENENBAUM and SERGEO KIRBY. The film is written and directed by STACEY TENENBAUM. VAN ROYKO C.S.C., is the director of photography and HOWARD GOLDBERG is the editor. Original music for the film was created by TIM RIDEOUT. The production sound design was done by DANIEL LEGACÉ.
“Shiners” is produced by H2L productions, a boutique film and television production company based in Montreal, Quebec.
“Shiners” will be broadcast on the documentary Channel in 2017. A 48 minute version of the film will air on TV5 Quebec-Canada under the title ‘Les Cireurs’ in 2017. A 54 Minute version of the film will air, under the title “The Art of the Shine”, on PBS - Independent Lens Series in 2018