Oscar-nominated documentary short "Knife Skills" offers recipe for success

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Documentary short film "Knife Skills" follows a class of trainee workers at a Cleveland haute cuisine restaurant committed to hiring the formerly incarcerated, with the hope of preventing their returns to prison. (KABC)

The movie "Knife Skills" tells an inspiring story about second chances, and it just earned an Oscar nomination in the "best documentary short subject" category.

"Knife Skills" revolves around Edwins, a French restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio, as it prepares to open its doors - but this restaurant is not just any normal eatery.

"First of all, I just stumbled upon this story completely by chance - just happened to be at a dinner," filmmaker Thomas Lennon said.

He went on to say he overheard someone talking about a new concept for a restaurant.

"Hear this weird guy there and he was talking about this restaurant that he was going to open and it was going to be the greatest French restaurant in the United States, and it was going to be in Cleveland. Okay, and it's going to be staffed entirely by people just out of prison. And I just knew right away there was a film there," Lennon said.

The restaurant employees include men and women who've been convicted of various offenses, several of them involving drugs.

"Everybody's got a vulnerability and that's really the story of the film is people will sort of try to rebuild their lives," Lennon said.

Not everyone in this movie hoping for a second chance will succeed, but for those who do, it is completely life-changing.

"There's a feeling of hurt and vulnerability and pain and shame about the past. And almost everybody in that restaurant is carrying that," Lennon said. " Although that's a huge burden to carry, it's also, in some ways, an advantage because it means they're always trying to be that much better, that much more loyal, that much more special and that much more attentive to their own characters flaws. I think that's what you see in the film."
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